Cameroon, Nigeria Begin 2nd Round of Talks on Border Dispute

Cameroon and Nigeria have begun their second round of negotiations over their disputed border. The United Nations steered the two states to the roundtable after Nigeria implicitly rejected a World Court ruling last year ceding ownership of the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon. There are an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil reserves located offshore the Bakassi peninsula in the Gulf of Guinea.

"Nigeria attaches great importance to this meeting. We want it to come up with practical solutions to our border problems to the satisfaction of all," Nigeria's Vice-President Atiku Abubakar said.

The talks in Abuja brought together members of a joint commission which has been working on confidence-building measures since the two countries' presidents held U.N.-mediated talks in Geneva last November and pledged not to go to war.

Nigeria and Cameroon have clashed sporadically over the 400 sq-mile territory whose offshore waters are also rich in fish. Both sides have stationed troops in the area.

The International Court of Justice, in its October 10 decision, ruled Cameroon's title over the area held precedence because of an agreement between European colonial powers Germany and Britain before World War I. The World Court ordered Nigeria to swiftly withdraw its military and administrative machinery from Bakassi.

The objective of the two-day meeting is to appoint a sub-committee to demarcate their 1,000-mile land border running from Lake Chad to the Gulf of Guinea.