Cameroon, Nigeria to discuss oil-rich peninsula at UN border commission

27 August 2004

The resource-rich Bakassi Peninsula, part of the disputed border between Cameroon and Nigeria, will be the focus of discussions between the two countries at a special meeting on Sunday of the United Nations commission set up to resolve their dispute peacefully.

Delegations from the two countries are expected to use Sunday's high-level meeting in Yaounde, the Cameroonian capital, to hammer out any remaining differences ahead of the 15 September deadline to withdraw troops and transfer authority between the two countries in the Bakassi Peninsula, according to a statement released today by the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA).

The Bakassi Peninsula, which is in the Gulf of Guinea, is rich in oil and other resources and forms part of the disputed land and maritime boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria.

In November 2002 Secretary-General Kofi Annan set up the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission, at the request of the two nations' presidents, to peacefully implement a decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the border quarrel.

In December 2003 troops were withdrawn and authority was transferred in the Lake Chad area at the northeastern end of the border, the first step in the process.

Sunday's meeting will be chaired by Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for West Africa and Chair of the Mixed Commission. In today's statement Mr. Ould-Abdallah said Sunday's meeting shows Cameroon and Nigeria are willing "to maintain the spirit of cooperation and friendship that has characterized the work of the Mixed Commission."


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