According to Mr. Michel, who was responsible in 2008 for the mediation, "both countries have made progress in achieving a treaty allowing the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to rule on the dispute”.
The UN envoy assured President Ali Bongo the positive development of the treaty.
The dispute did not start today. It is poisoning relations between Libreville and Malabo since 1970. But in 1999, the dispute took a new dimension when the president of Equatorial Guinea by decree reaffirmed the sovereignty of Mbanié, a 30 hectares island located in the Bay of Corisco, in the territorial waters of Gabon.
But since the handshake in Geneva between former President Omar Bongo Ondimba and Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, things have not really advanced.
Equatorial Guinea does not abandon what it sees as its territory. In addition, since this country is one of the largest oil-producing Gulf of Guinea, its head of state took the height asserting to be a leader of weight in Central Africa.
Gabon and Equatorial Guinea have been battling for years the sovereignty of three neighboring islands, Mbanié (30 hectares) and the two tiny islands Cocotier and Conga, lost in the Bay of Corisco between the coasts of both countries but potentially rich in oil .
On February 27, 2006 in Geneva, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea had agreed to "proceed immediately to negotiate the final demarcation of their maritime and land borders and (to) resolve the issue of sovereignty over these islands”.
The two countries had signed in 2004, on the sidelines of a summit of African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, a protocol in which they promised to "negotiate an agreement." But the document was never honoured.
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