Ban: Nigeria-Cameroon peninsula transfer exemplifies ‘good neighbourliness’
“The case of the Bakassi Peninsula has proven the viability of a peaceful and legal settlement of border disputes, when it is done with the full support of the international community and in a spirit of mutual respect, good neighbourliness and cooperation,” Mr. Ban said in a message to the handover ceremony.
He paid tribute to both countries for their “patience and perseverance,” adding that they serve as an example to the world on how to peacefully resolve sensitive problems.
The International Court of Justice resolved the “potentially dangerous” dispute between the two countries, and the event marks “a triumph for the rule of law, which lies at the very core of the mission and work of the United Nations,” Mr. Ban said in the message, which was delivered on his behalf by Kieran Prendergast, who chaired the follow-up committee on the implementation of the 2006 Greentree agreement.
Under that historic pact – signed under the auspices of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan – Nigeria recognized Cameroonian sovereignty over the Bakassi Peninsula, an oil-rich region on the Gulf of Guinea that had been the subject of intense and sometimes violent disputes between the African neighbours for decades.
The agreement was “a testimony to the determination and resolve of both countries to move beyond a difficult past,” Mr. Ban noted, calling it “the embodiment of an innovative approach to conflict resolution.”
Also in attendance at today’s ceremony in Calabar, Nigeria, was the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, Said Djinnit.