The United Nations-backed transfer of authority of a once-disputed peninsula from Nigeria to Cameroon, successfully completed last month, has the potential to transform relations between the African neighbours, Cameroonian President Paul Biya said today.
Speaking at the General Assembly’s annual general debate, Mr. Biya said the peaceful hand-over of the Bakassi Peninsula was a credit to the leaders and the peoples of the two countries.
The transfer “is one of the best examples of the remarkable results that can be generated by an authentic desire for peace that is shared by the parties, with the judicious support of the international community,” he told delegates attending the third day of the debate.
Mr. Biya thanked the UN, which supervised the process through a Mixed Commission, as well as key countries – including the United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom – that helped implement the Greentree Agreement, the 2006 accord which resolved the dispute.
“It is, thus, the dawn of a new era in relations between Cameroon and Nigeria, geared towards the quest for progress and development to which our two peoples aspire. It goes without saying that the two countries must henceforth do everything possible to consolidate the settlement and seize the opportunities offered them to develop their relations in all areas.”
Mr. Biya also pledged that the Cameroonian Government would respect all its commitments under the Greentree Agreement.
The Bakassi Peninsula is 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 until they agreed to the UN-backed process.