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04 November 2009 - Media release

Cameroon’s President agrees to provide visa waiver status for INTERPOL passport

YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon – Cameroon today became the latest country to waive visa entry requirements for INTERPOL passport bearers travelling on behalf of the organization, following discussions between Cameroon’s President and the INTERPOL Secretary General.

In a meeting on the sidelines of the Central African Police Chiefs Co-operation Organization (CAPCCO) conference in Yaoundé, Cameroon President Paul Biya also told INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble that he would recommend that other heads of state attending the upcoming Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) do the same.

Secretary General Noble welcomed the decision by Cameroon, the fourth member country to waive visa entry requirements for INTERPOL passport holders, as an important step forward.

“By waiving visa entry requirements for INTERPOL passport holders, Cameroon’s President is ensuring that his citizens will benefit from INTERPOL support without delay whenever and wherever it is needed in Cameroon,” said Mr Noble.

“When officials are travelling on an INTERPOL passport for official business, it means that they are coming to the country concerned to help prevent or fight crime or to respond to a disaster; it is therefore essential that they are granted easy access so that they can carry out their duties in support of each of the member countries concerned.

“President Biya’s decision to have Cameroon grant visa waiver status to INTERPOL passport holders is a significant one, but what is especially extraordinary is his pledge to call on other leaders of central African countries comprising CEMAC to do the same,” added Secretary General Noble.

“No country, or region, ever knows when it will need INTERPOL’s help, but countries that grant visa waiver status to INTERPOL passport holders travelling on official business at the invitation of the country concerned will know that there will be no unnecessary barriers causing us delay,” concluded the head of INTERPOL.

The creation of an INTERPOL passport was officially unveiled at the recent General Assembly in Singapore during which Pakistan, Ukraine and the Democratic Republic of Congo, also agreed to waive visa entry requirements for INTERPOL passport bearers.

During his mission to Cameroon, the INTERPOL Secretary General will also officially open the new Regional Bureau in Yaoundé, the organization’s fourth in Africa – joining Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), Harare (Zimbabwe), and Nairobi (Kenya) – and sixth in the world. There are also Regional Bureaus for the Americas in Buenos Aires (Argentina) and San Salvador (El Salvador) in addition to liaison offices in Bangkok (Thailand), the United Nations in New York and at the European Union in Brussels, Belgium.