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Annan to meet again with Presidents of Nigeria, Cameroon over Bakassi peninsula

Annan to meet again with Presidents of Nigeria, Cameroon over Bakassi peninsula

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, is slated to meet on Friday with Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Paul Biya of Cameroon to help them resolve the stalemate following last month’s judgment by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the two countries’ dispute over the Bakassi peninsula.

A statement issued today by a spokesman for the Secretary-General said the meeting, which has been agreed to by both parties, would be held in Geneva at the Palais des Nations.

In its judgement delivered on 10 October, the ICJ essentially awarded sovereignty rights over the oil-rich peninsula to Cameroon. The Court cited two colonial documents – a 1913 agreement between Germany and the United Kingdom, and the Thomson-Marchland Declaration of 1929-1930 – and directed Nigeria to withdraw “expeditiously and without condition” from the area. Cameroon was asked to remove “expeditiously and without condition” its forces from the land boundary that, according to the ruling, fell within the sovereignty of Nigeria.

In a position paper issued on 24 October, Nigeria said the judgement did not consider “fundamental facts” about the Nigerian inhabitants of the territory, whose “ancestral homes” the ICJ has now adjudged to be in Cameroonian territory.

Friday’s meeting would be the second Mr. Annan has held with the two leaders over the border dispute. On 5 September, the Secretary-General met in Paris with the two Presidents, who both promised to respect and implement whatever decision the ICJ might give on the case, which Cameroon brought before the Court in 1994.