Thursday, 28 July 2011

UN-backed Cameroon-Nigeria border commission urges swift resolution

The UN-backed Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission, set up to help Cameroon and Nigeria resolve their border disputes has called for “swift agreement” to resolve the remaining border disputes.

The Commission was set up at the request of the West African neighbours after the 2002 International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision on the ownership of the Bakassi Peninsula, in order to help implement the decision.

It has already reached agreement on more than 1,600 kilometres of the border, however it is still working on the final 350 kilometres of the land border which needs to be demarcated.

The most recent meeting of the Commission, which took place for two days in Abuja last week, had planned to reach an agreement on the remaining 350 kilometres, however it was not successful.

The Commission instruct its sub-commission on demarcation to find "effective and practical solutions" on the remaining areas, which include previous skipped areas, areas of disagreement, and inaccessible areas.

In a press release at the end of the meeting on Friday 22nd July, Cameroon and Nigeria reiterated their commitment to complete the demarcation by the end of next year.

The commission, chaired by the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for West Africa Said Djinnit also noted the progress made by the two nations regarding the confidence-building initiatives for the populations affected by the demarcation.

A draft agreement was reached at the meeting however, on other issues such as the exploitation of hydrocarbons on the border of Nigeria and Cameroon.

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan said on Tuesday 26th July that he would form a committee to consider the draft agreement for ratification, after which the document would be signed by the leaders of both countries.

Jonathan also said it was critical for the two countries to work together to ensure security along the border.

The next session of the commission will be held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on 8-9th December.

Sources: Punch, The Nation, UN News Centre

For more information, please see the Menas Borders website, here.

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