Global support needed to deter extremists, UN's Cameroon-Nigeria Commission says

12 March 2004

The international community needs to give strong diplomatic and financial support to the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission to ensure that radical elements from either country do not derail the process to peacefully resolve their border dispute, a commission delegation visiting the United Nations said today.

At a briefing for reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for West Africa, said "we need public support through the media to…[show] some of our extremists that the alternative to peace and cooperation is war."

A tripartite delegation from the Commission is touring London, Paris, Washington and New York to drum up support for its work, which aims to peacefully demarcate the land and maritime boundaries between the two countries.

The delegation - consisting of Mr. Ould-Abdallah; Amadou Ali, Justice Minister of Cameroon; and Prince Bola Abijola, former Justice Minister and Attorney-General of Nigeria - held talks with Secretary-General Kofi Annan and other senior UN officials in New York today.

Mr. Ould-Abdallah said the demarcation work has been budgeted to cost $12 million over the next two years and the two countries have each pledged $3 million so far. He said the rest of the money should come from the international community.

The aim is "to ensure that it is a win-win situation - where Cameroon wins, Nigeria wins, where the international community wins," he said.

The Mixed Commission was established by the UN in November 2002 at the request of the Presidents of Nigeria and Cameroon to implement an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on the long-running border dispute.


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