Friday, February 25, 2011
In the past, countries often went to war to resolve disputes over islands and other territories, particularly when the land in dispute contains resources.
An overlooked accomplishment of the United Nations is that many countries no longer go to war over these traditional disputes but instead use peaceful means of settling disputes through one or more organs of the United Nations.
This week, the UN Secretary General announced that the countries of Equatorial Guinea and Gabon have agreed to submit a longstanding border dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, told the UN Security Council that this agreement between the two countries was "an important demonstration of statesmanship, on both sides.” Mr. Ban had met this week with President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea and President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon.
The dispute between the two countries concerns control of an island with (no suprise) oil resources. The leaders reportedly have agreed to exploit the area jointly until the dispute is resolved by the ICJ.