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Foreign relations of Equatorial Guinea

From Academic Kids

A transitional agreement, signed in October 1968, implemented a Spanish preindependence decision to assist Equatorial Guinea and provided for the temporary maintenance of Spanish forces there. A dispute with President Macias in 1969 led to a request that all Spanish troops immediately depart, and a large number of civilians left at the same time. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were never broken but were suspended by Spain in March 1977 in the wake of renewed disputes. After Macias' fall in 1979, President Obiang asked for Spanish assistance, and since then, Spain has regained influence in Equatorial Guinea's diplomatic relations. The two countries signed permanent agreements for economic and technical cooperation, private concessions, and trade relations. President Obiang made an official visit to Madrid in March 2001, and senior Spanish Foreign Ministry officials visited Malabo during 2001 as well. Spain maintained a bilateral assistance program in Equatorial Guinea. Some Equato-Guinean opposition elements are based in Spain to the annoyance of the government of Malabo.

Equatorial Guinea has cordial relations with neighboring Cameroon, although there was criticism in Cameroon in 2000 about perceived mistreatment of Cameroonians working in Equatorial Guinea. The majority Fang ethnic group of mainland Equatorial Guinea extends both north and south into the forests of Cameroon and Gabon. Cameroon exports some food products to Equatorial Guinea and imports oil from Equatorial Guinea for its refinery at nearby Limbe.

Equatorial Guinea has warmer relations with Nigeria, and the Nigerian President made an official visit to Malabo in 2001. The two countries have delineated their offshore borders, which will facilitate development of nearby gas fields. In addition, many Nigerians work in Equatorial Guinea, as do immigrants from Cameroon and some West African states.

Equatorial Guinea is member of the Central African Economic and Monetary Union (CEMAC), which includes Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), and Gabon. It also is a member of the Franc zone. Parallel to the Equatoguinean rapprochement with its francophone neighbors, France's role has significantly increased following Equatorial Guinea's entry into the CFA Franc Zone and the BEAC. French technical advisers work in the finance and planning ministries, and agreements have been signed for infrastructure development projects.

In 1995, the USA closed its embassy, ostensibly for budget reasons, though the ambassador of the time had been accused of witchcraft, and had criticised the human rights situation. In 1996, offshore oil began flowing, and, with several US oil companies present in the country, the US reopened the embassy in October 2003.

The government's official policy is one of nonalignment. In its search for assistance to meet the goal of national reconstruction, the Government of Equatorial Guinea has established diplomatic relations with numerous European and Third World Countries. Having achieved independence under UN sponsorship, Equatorial Guinea feels a special kinship with that organization. It became the 126th UN member on November 12, 1968.

Disputes - international: exclusive maritime economic zone boundary dispute with Cameroon is presently before the ICJ; maritime boundary dispute with Gabon because of disputed sovereignty over islands in Corisco Bay; maritime boundary dispute with Nigeria and Cameroon because of disputed jurisdiction over oil-rich areas in the Gulf of Guinea

See also : Equatorial Guinea
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