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Vol 42 No 1

Published 12th January 2001


Nigeria

Big brother

Negotiators from giant Nigeria and tiny São Tomé e Príncipe hope to conclude a landmark agreement to settle a border dispute at talks due to begin in São Tomé on 25 January. The dispute centres on an undemarcated maritime border in an area reportedly rich in oil reserves in the Gulf of Guinea. Similar disputes in the region - between Nigeria and Cameroon, between Equatorial Guinea and Gabon and between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria - have escalated either into military confrontation or lengthy legal battles. On this occasion, the two sides are looking to borrow a mechanism from Asia that will bypass the sovereignty issue and allow early moves towards the exploration and exploitation of the area's resources.

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