Gabon and Equatorial Guinea settle territorial dispute in The Hague

The territorial dispute between Gabon and Equatorial Guinea is once again in the spotlight. These two Central African countries have been disputing the sovereignty of three islands since the 1970s. After the failure of UN mediation, Libreville and Malabo had agreed to resort to the International Court of Justice to settle the dispute.
A statement from the Gabonese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, April 13, confirms that the ICJ has initiated proceedings. The territorial dispute has been underway at The Hague since March via video conference.
The two countries have been invited to designate their representatives and file their defenses. The case dates back to 1972 when Equatorial Guinea claimed sovereignty over Mbanié, the largest island with an area of 20 hectares, and two other islets, Cocotiers and Conga. In 1974, a treaty was signed. It reduced the tension. But 15 years later, Equatorial Guinea revived the dispute.
To avoid a war between the two neighbors, the UN stepped in and acted as mediator. Under the aegis of the UN, the two parties concluded a treaty in 2008 authorizing the International Court of Justice (ICJ) based in The Hague to settle the dispute. But the process could take a long time, according to a Gabonese source.
It is said that the subsoil of the disputed land is rich in oil and the waters are rich in fish.

About Geraldine Boechat 1599 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia