Monday, 28 February 2011
Ban meets Gabon, Equatorial Guinea leaders on border dispute
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held a trilateral meeting with the presidents of the Gabon and Equatorial Guinea on the border dispute between the two countries on Friday 25th February.
The Pan African News Agency (PANA) learnt that the meeting, which lasted for about four hours in New York, was convened by the secretary-general to discuss the ongoing UN-led mediation on the dispute.
Ban also met the two leaders separately in his office.
UN spokesperson, Martin Nesirky, told PANA the meeting was attended by Gabon's President Ali Bongo Ondimba and Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, as well as diplomats from the two countries and senior UN officials.
"It will be the first time the two heads of state will meet to talk specifically about this issue," Nesirky said.
Nesirky also said the meeting was a 'meaningful step' towards the submission of the dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as well as in the overall relations between the two countries.
He quoted Ban as saying the presence of the two leaders and their delegations 'underscores the commitment of your two neighbouring states to pursue peacefully the settlement of the dispute through UN mediation.'
'The secretary general also said this shared determination to see peace prevail was a credit to not only Equatorial Guinea and Gabon but the entire Central African sub-region,' the spokesperson said.
'Ban also assured the two leaders of UN's support and his personal engagement to assist them succeed in the process,' Nesirky added.
Both countries have been trying to solve the problem with the mediation of the UN since the days of the late Gabonese president Omar Bongo Ondimba.
The maritime dispute is centred around the ownership of three islands in Corisco Bay: Mbanie, Cocotiers and Congas. The waters around the islands are believed to be rich in oil.
Until the dispute is resolved, the two Central African states have agreed to jointly exploit the area.
At present, Gabon is one of the 10 non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.
Source: Afrique en ligne
For more information, see the Menas Borders website, here.