Monday, February 28, 2011

UN Secretary-General Hails 'Statesmanship' in Efforts by Presidents of Equatorial Guinea and Gabon to Resolve Boundary Dispute

United Nations Secretary-General praised President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea and his counterpart, Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, for "statesmanship" in their efforts to resolve a long-standing territorial dispute.

President Obiang met on February 25 with President Bongo at the United Nations (UN) headquarters at the invitation of the Secretary-General. The UN began mediating the dispute in 2004.

The two presidents reaffirmed their commitment to submit the dispute to the International Court of Justice with the goal of reaching a settlement as soon as possible.

Secretary-General Ban reported to the Security Council that the attitude of the presidents was "an important demonstration of statesmanship, on both sides."

He declared that the two nations would "have the full support of the United Nations as they work together to find a solution."

The dispute between Equatorial Guinea and its neighbor centers around three islands in Corisco Bay, in an area of petroleum and natural gas deposits. The two countries have a long-standing commitment to resolve the matter amicably and to exploit the area's resources jointly until they reach a settlement.

In a joint communique issued following the meeting of the two leaders and Secretary-General Ban, the two countries agreed to meet again in Geneva on March 29-30 to resolve remaining issues.