Nigeria now Cameroon’s number one trade partner, says UN envoy

The two countries have also resolved the Bakassi controversy.

The UN envoy for the West Africa region, Said Djinnit, said Nigeria had become Cameroon’s number one trade partner over the last two years.

Mr. Djinnit said this during a briefing at the UN Security Council at the Headquarters of the world body on Tuesday in New York.

He also said that relationship between the two countries had improved within the period under review.

Mr. Djinnit is the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA).

Mr. Djinnit said that the border demarcation process between Nigeria and Cameroon also continued to make progress. He said that the transfer of authority, as called for in the Green Tree Agreement, had been successfully completed at the end of the transition period.

The envoy added that he had signed a joint declaration on October 22, with the heads of the delegations of both countries that the former would exercise fully its sovereign rights in the Bakassi zone.

He said that the West African region remained fragile and would require the ongoing support of the international community.

Mr. Djinnit said that West African countries had continued to progress toward stability, enabled by the renewed commitment of the region’s leaders and peoples,

He said that this had been aided by the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other regional organisations.

He said that in Mali, constitutional order and territorial integrity had been re-established with the polls held in July and August, which had resulted in the election of President Boubacar Keita.

“Even though major security challenges continued, the process of dialogue and national reconciliation was ongoing.

“Drawing lessons from the crisis in Mali, West African leaders had committed to the creation of a rapid reaction force to deal with regional crises.

“Legislative elections had also been held in Togo, Guinea and Mauritania. In Ghana, the Supreme Court had upheld the validity of the presidential elections held in Dec. 2012, confirming the victory of President John Dramani Mahama.”

In the Sahel, he said the Secretary-General’s tour of the region, in the company of African Union, European Union and World Bank officials, had strengthened partnerships between States of the region and the international community.

“A coordinating mechanism had been established between the different UN entities to implement the Organisation’s Integrated Strategy for the Sahel,’’ he stated.

The envoy said that significant progress had been made in implementing Security Council resolutions 2062 (2012) and 2066 (2012).

The resolutions called for a trans-boundary security strategy in the Mano River area.

He said that the Heads of State of the Mano River Union had, in close cooperation with ECOWAS, adopted a strategy for cross-border security.

“In-depth consultations with civil society on implementation of the strategy were under way.

“Sustained regional efforts were also being made to eliminate piracy.

“The UN offices in West and Central Africa were working with ECOWAS up to the decisions taken at the Yaound,” he said.

The envoy said that the UNOWA would continue to support security sector reform initiatives in the region.

Mr. Djinnit, however, warned that the biggest threat to the region is the growing power of organised crime, benefiting from porous borders and weak national institutions.

(NAN)


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