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Annan Commends Cameroon and Nigeria on Progress

Annan Commends Cameroon and Nigeria on Progress Made on Demarcating Boundary

New York, May 11 2005 2:00PM

The Presidents of Cameroon and Nigeria, who have been implementing an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on a formerly disputed border, have agreed to work out a new programme of Nigerian troop withdrawal from the area and to protect the affected populations, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today.

"Looking back at the progress already made, I want to commend both Presidents for the smooth transfer of authority that took place along the land border in 2004, as well as for the generally good atmosphere which prevails in the area and the good relations between the population and the new administrative authorities," he told a news conference in Geneva after a two-hour mini-summit there with President Paul Biya of Cameroon and President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria.

The ICJ ruled in October 2002 on the dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria over their 1,600-kilometre land border, extending from the Lake Chad area to the Bakassi peninsula, and maritime boundary into the Gulf of Guinea.

Implementation of the ruling is now coordinated by the UN-chaired Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission.

"I called on both Presidents to give their full support to ensure the success of the work of the Commission," Mr. Annan said. "It is important that the Mixed Commission proceed with its work as expeditiously as possible."

He welcomed the additional funds the two countries themselves have donated to carry out demarcation operations.

In a communiqué issued after their meeting, all three also expressed their gratitude for recent contributions to the UN trust fund for demarcation, including the 1 million pounds sterling from the United Kingdom. They also welcomed the prospect of an additional €4 million (euros) from the European Commission in addition to the €400,000 previously granted.


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