|04ABUJA1807||2004-10-25 07:40:00||CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN||Embassy Abuja|
1. (C/NF) The Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission met October
21-22 in Abuja, and after deliberation on Bakassi "decided to
refer the matter to the Heads of State of Cameroon and
Nigeria and the Secretary-General of the United Nations."
The Mixed Commission had scheduled this session to last only
two days, and most of that in plenary sessions hearing
reports on the Lake Chad area. UNSRSG Ould-Abdallah told the
October 21 opening Plenary, attended by PolCouns, that he had
received positions on the maritime boundary issues from the
Nigeria and Cameroon delegations, and that he had given each
to the other and asked for reactions during the session.
Apparently the delegations gave him no responses, nor did
they work out any methodology for the maritime boundaries
issue during this short session, because Ould-Abdallah ended
the session saying he awaits their respective reactions by
November 15, 2004.
2. (C/NF) Ould-Abdallah told poloff October 22 after the
Mixed Commission session that Cameroon's President Biya
wished to meet with Nigeria's President Obasanjo and UNSYG
Annan in Geneva. No date set. Ould-Abdallah said he would
like to see more pressure on both sides for compliance, and
that he had asked the Cameroonians to make an effort to tone
down their public and private rhetoric in order to make
progress on the substantive issues. Ould-Abdallah opined
that the Cameroon delegation did not seem to be on the same
page as President Biya.
3. (C/NF) Ould-Abdallah told PolCouns on October 4, and
poloff on October 22 after the Mixed Committee session, that
he speculated that the Nigerian military wanted either:
-- a better share for Nigeria of the oil-rich maritime areas
past the 15 nautical miles delineated in the ICJ ruling;
-- a long-term lease for an enclave on part of Bakassi.
Ould-Abdallah characterized the latter enclave as a place
where Nigerians on Bakassi "could live under Nigerian rule
like Americans do in Guantanamo." He did not have proposals
from Nigeria for either of the above. Ould-Abdallah added
that he thought the Nigerian military might be balking for
patriotic reasons instead of for money.
4. (C/NF) Comment: Obasanjo has long said the maritime
boundaries and Bakassi will be solved by the two presidents
(reftels), and Ould-Abdallah now says Biya wants to meet.
Whether or not such a meeting is advisable or occurs, there
will be little done at the next Mixed Commission session set
for December 7-8 or 7-9 if so much of its short time is
scheduled for hearing reports on past work in plenary, and so
little is devoted to working out the outstanding issues.