As discussions at the 71st General Assembly debates of the United Nations came to a close on Friday 23 September 2016, the intensity of activities for the Cameroon Head of State increased both at the United Nations Headquarters and his Waldorf Astoria Hotel suite where he met with high-level officials. Although most of the audiences held behind closed doors, their significance was evident from the level of personalities he received.
Ambassador Samantha Power
The longest of the four audiences that President Paul granted on Friday was with the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power. For over one hour she had discussions with the Head of State in the presence of the Minister of External Relations, Lejeune Mbella Mbella and the Director of the Civil Cabinet, Martin Belinga Eboutou.
After the discussions, Ambassador Samantha said she came to appreciate President Biya's presence at the Leaders' Summit on Refugees chaired by US President Barack Obama, the commitments taken by the Head of State during the meeting and the participation of Cameroon at the Africa- America Business Forum also organized by President Obama on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
She talked of increasing bilateral ties between Cameroon and the United States seen through the multiple encounters President Biya had with his American counterpart, Barack Obama during his New York stay. President Obama's reception on 20, September, the fight against Boko Haram, the suicide attacks that the extremist group has been causing and the welfare of Internal Displaced Persons in the Far North as well as the situation of refugees Cameroon were equally examined by Mr Biya and his guest.
Central Africa Republic, Togo, and Burkina Faso
While the President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbe, the first to be received at mid-day at the United Nations Headquarters like that of Burkina Faso, Roch March Christian Kabore received by 4p.m. at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel left without a word to the press, the President of Central Africa Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadera, opened up to reporters.
President Paul Biya who arrived at the UN Building less than five minutes to 12 noon was immediately followed into the meeting room by Faure Gnassingbe of Togo. Both leaders had a tête-a-tête for about 30 minutes before the Togolese leader, looking relaxed left Mr Biya.
About five minutes later, the President of the Central Africa Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadera who had earlier been seen around the conference room at the UN Headquarters joined the Head of State. After about 30 minutes of discussion with President Biya he said he came to thank Mr Biya for supporting the Central Africa Republic during the crisis years. President Touadera added that he intended to pay an official visit to Cameroon during which he will officially appreciate the support given by the country to refugees from the Central Africa Republic.
Another new-comer to the job of President who sought to meet with Mr Biya in his New York Hotel was President Roch Marc Christian Kabore. Elected on 29 November, 2015 following a one-year transnational period in Burkina Faso. He left the audience without a word to the press, but a sense of satisfaction he carried was visible.