Annan invites leaders of Nigeria and Cameroon to further talks on Bakassi

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has invited the Presidents of Nigeria and Cameroon to meet him again in the near future in a bid to assist the two countries in the follow-up to a recent judgement by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on their dispute over the Bakassi Peninsula.A statement issued by Mr. Annan’s spokesman today noted that the Secretary-General has remained in contact with the two leaders since their 5 September meeting in Paris, where they agreed to respect and implement whatever decision the ICJ might render on the case, which Cameroon brought before the Court in 1994.In its judgment, delivered on 10 October, the ICJ essentially awarded sovereignty rights over the oil-rich peninsula to Cameroon. The Court cited two colonial documents – a 1913 agreement between Germany and the United Kingdom and the Thomson-Marchland Declaration of 1929-1930 – and directed Nigeria to withdraw “expeditiously and without condition” from the area. Cameroon was asked to remove “expeditiously and without condition” its forces from the land boundary which, according to the ruling, fell within the sovereignty of Nigeria.In a position paper issued on 24 October, Nigeria said the judgment did not consider “fundamental facts” about the Nigerian inhabitants of the territory, whose “ancestral homes” the ICJ has now adjudged to be in Cameroonian territory.