General Thierry Marchand was assigned by French President on September 15th as “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic to the Republic of Cameroon.
He replaces Christophe Guilhou who was called to other functions, as specified in a decree signed by Emmanuel Macron. A farewell audience was granted to him on September 16th 2022 at the Ministry of External Relations. The arrival of General Marchand in Cameroon is far from being a surprise. This appointment had leaked to the international press the day after the visit of Emmanuel Macron to Cameroon.
At the time, credible sources at Minrex explained that this crowned head of the French army was the priority choice of the French president, but that it was necessary to wait for the end of diplomatic procedures to confirm his arrival in Cameroon. This is because Article 4 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations stipulates that “The sending State shall ensure that the person it intends to accredit as head of the mission to the receiving State has received the approval of that State”.
It therefore took about two months for Paris and Yaounde to agree on the appointment of General Marchand. To the great displeasure of some Cameroonian activists, who had called on President Paul Biya to refuse to allow a military officer to head the French diplomatic representation in Cameroon. Although this is not the first time that the Elysée has appointed a senior military officer in Cameroon. Gilles Thibault, French ambassador to Cameroon from 2016 to 2019, was a colonel in the French army.