Gabon and Equatorial Guinea said today that they have made substantial progress towards referring their border dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the main judicial organ of the United Nations.
In a joint statement issued after two days of meetings at the UN Office in Geneva (UNOG), representatives of the neighbouring African countries said they had worked on key documents for a planned joint submission to the ICJ, which would then adjudicate on the boundary.
The maritime dispute between Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, which emerged in 2003, centres on an island which has oil resources. The two States have agreed to exploit the area jointly until the dispute is resolved.
Gabon and Equatorial Guinea said in today’s statement that they will meet again in New York in September to finalize the documents being submitted to the ICJ.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who opened a high-level meeting between the two countries last month as part of UN efforts to end the dispute, also said he would soon appoint a Special Adviser and Mediator to assist the process.