UN Cameroon-Nigeria commission sets timetable for solving remaining dispute

8 April 2004

The Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission, set up by the United Nations to peacefully resolve the two countries' border dispute, concluded its latest meeting today by setting the timetable for the withdrawal of troops and transfer of authority in the remaining two contested areas.

In a communiqué adopted after its ninth meeting, held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, the Commission said the withdrawal and transfer in the land boundary will take place between 15 June and 15 July. The same process will occur in the Bakassi Peninsula between 15 July and 15 September.

Cameroon and Nigeria have already agreed to withdraw forces and transfer authority in the Lake Chad area. For many years the two countries have disputed sovereignty over their land boundary, stretching from Lake Chad to the sea, their maritime boundary, and the Bakassi Peninsula in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Commission also thanked the United Kingdom for agreeing to contribute 1 million pounds sterling to the UN Trust Fund for Demarcation. Last month Commission officials travelled to London, Paris, New York and Washington to seek financial support for its work.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan set up the Commission in late 2002 at the request of Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Paul Biya of Cameroon. Its aim is to help peacefully implement an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on the border quarrel.

The Commission, which is chaired by Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for West Africa, holds meetings every two months, rotating the venue between the two countries. The next summit is scheduled to start in Abuja, Nigeria, on 1 June.

 

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