27 February 2006 Hailing the Presidents of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea for showing “incredible flexibility” toward resolving a border dispute, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said today that the two leaders were determined to resolve the issue before the end of the year.
The dispute between Equatorial Guinea and Gabon centres on an island which has oil resources. In 2004 both sides agreed to exploit it jointly and continue to work on the border problem.
Mr. Annan hosted a mini-summit between President El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba of Gabon and President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea in Geneva this morning and said both leaders had “agreed to press ahead with immediate negotiations on the delimitation of their maritime and land borders.”
“They showed 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,” Mr. Annan told the press after the meeting.
“I think it will be important for them to resolve this issue as quickly as possible and it will also be a good message for the continent, a continent wracked by conflicts and tensions, that two leaders come together and resolve their differences very, very peacefully.”
The Secretary-General also said that both sides had agreed that technical teams would meet in Geneva on 15 March to continue the discussions, adding that he intended to meet with the leaders again sometime in the course of next month in Africa to further pursue efforts towards resolving the border issue.