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Ban reports progress in efforts to end Equatorial Guinea-Gabon border dispute

25 February 2011 – The leaders of Equatorial Guinea and Gabon today reiterated their commitment to submit their longstanding border dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), with the aim of resolving the matter as soon as possible, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reported today.

“This is an important demonstration of statesmanship, on both sides,” Mr. Ban told the Security Council, following his meeting with the leaders.

“I want to underscore that they will have the full support of the United Nations as they work together to find a solution,” he added.

Today’s meeting between the leaders, held at the invitation of the Secretary-General, was the first time that Presidents Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea and Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon met to talk specifically about the dispute.

The dispute between the two countries, which emerged in 2003, centres on an island which has oil resources. They have agreed to exploit the area jointly until the dispute is resolved.

Assisting in the efforts to resolve the dispute is the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser and Mediator, Nicolas Michel, who formerly served as UN Legal Counsel.

According to a joint communiqué issued following the meeting of Mr. Ban and the two leaders, it was agreed that the mediation will continue by a meeting of the delegations in Geneva on 29 and 30 March, subject to any other arrangement agreed by the parties as proposed by the Secretary-General.

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