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Equatorial Guinea and Gabon border dispute

Equatorial Guinea and Gabon border dispute needs speedy resolution: Annan

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called for speedy resolution of a maritime border dispute between Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, stressing the need to have a “good result by the end of the year,” and pledging his support for the negotiations.

Mr. Annan made his remarks after discussing the border issue, which centres on an island that has oil resources, with Gabon President Omar Bongo Ondimba last night, before flying to Equatorial Guinea to hold similar talks with President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

“What is important is that President Obiang, President Bongo and myself, decide to really accelerate the process to finish the negotiations and have a good result by the end of the year,” said Mr. Annan, who is currently on stopover in Ghana on the latest leg of his Africa visit.

“Discussions and negotiations are continuing,” he added, saying also that experts would meet again in Geneva in May. In 2004, both sides in the dispute agreed to exploit the island jointly and continue to work on the border problem.

At the end of last month, Mr. Annan hosted a mini-summit between both Presidents in Geneva, saying afterwards that they had shown “incredible flexibility, good will and determination to press ahead and resolve this issue in the next few months and definitely before the end of the year.”

After a nearly two-week trip to Africa, the Secretary-General is expected back in New York on Monday.

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