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UN-chaired commission on Cameroon-Nigeria border dispute holds fourth meeting

13 June A United Nations-chaired panel on the Cameroon-Nigeria border dispute over the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula has concluded its fourth meeting.

The meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, of the "mixed commission" - so named because it comprises representatives from both sides - discussed the progress towards the planning and implementation of the demarcation exercise of the land boundary as well as other issues. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for West Africa, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, chaired the meeting.

The commission was formed in response to a ruling last October on the Bakassi dispute by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which essentially awarded Cameroon rights to the oil-rich peninsula. Following the Court's decision, Nigeria asserted that the judgment did not consider "fundamental facts" about the Nigerian inhabitants of the territory, whose "ancestral homes" the ICJ had adjudged to be in Cameroonian territory.

Meeting with the Secretary-General in Geneva last September, Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Paul Biya of Cameroon agreed to set up the commission to handle their differences, mandating it to consider all the implications of the ICJ's decision, including the need to protect the rights of the affected populations in both countries.

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