Ghana: Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire 'accept' judgement of UN Tribunal on maritime dispute

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - Ministers who represented Ghana and Cote d’lvoire in their maritime boundary dispute case have accepted Saturday's judgement of the Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea’s (ITLOS) that upholds Ghana's case.

The local media in Ghana reported that Gloria Akuffo, Ghana's Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Adama Toungara, Cote d'Ivoire's Minister of Petroleum and Energy reiterated their mutual commitment to abide by the terms of the judgement in a joint statement released in Hamburg, Germany.

“Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana seize the opportunity to reiterate the mutual commitment of the two countries to abide by the terms of this decision from the Special Chamber, and to fully collaborate for its implementation. Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana accept the decision, in accordance with the Statute of ITLOS.”

The two countries also “affirmed their strong will to work together to strengthen and intensify their brotherly relationships of cooperation and good neighbourliness”.

The Hamburg-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) on Saturday ruled unanimously in favour of Ghana in its maritime dispute with its western neighbour, Cote d'Ivoire, according to analysts in Accra.

They said after Justice Boualem Bouguetaia, President of the Special Chamber, read the judgement, that ITLOS accepted Ghana’s argument of adoption of the equidistance method of delineation of the maritime boundary.

The analysts said on various media platforms in Accra that the new boundary line determined by the Tribunal did not "materially" affect Ghana's interests.

The judgement of ITLOS is final.

The judges ruled that there had not been any violation on the part of Ghana on Côte d’Ivoire’s maritime boundary and also rejected Cote d’Ivoire’s argument that Ghana’s coastal lines were unstable.

On the new boundary, the Tribunal decided that "the single maritime boundary for the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf within and beyond 200 nm starts at BP 55+ with the coordinates 05° 05’ 23.2” N, 03° 06’ 21.2’’ W in WGS 84 as a geodetic datum".  

This position is much closer to what Ghana was arguing for, the analysts said.

Cote d'Ivoire had demanded compensation from the Tribunal, arguing that Ghana violated its 25 April 2015 ruling, but the Tribunal rejected this claim, holding that Ghana did not violate the sovereign right of Cote d’Ivoire.

"...The Special Tribunal is of the opinion that Ghana continued to cooperate and communicated to Cote d'Ivoire the information relating to activities carried out in the disputed area, pursuant to the order...The Special Tribunal considers that there is no need to address the question of reparation," the judges ruled.

ITLOS’s first ruling in 2015 placed a moratorium on new projects, with old projects continuing after Cote d’Ivoire filed for preliminary measures and urged the tribunal to suspend all activities on the disputed area until the definitive determination of the case.

The moratorium prevented Tullow Oil from drilling additional 13 wells. Tullow thus drilled 11 wells in Ghana’s first oil field.

While the tribunal rejected Ghana’s claim that Cote d’Ivoire is estopped from making a claim for the disputed territory because of prior conduct, the Chamber equally rejected Ivory Coast’s claim that a meridian measurement be used and accepted Ghana's argument for the equidistance measurement.

Three oil fields - Tweneboa, Enyira and Ntome - are located in the area and are the subject matter of the disputebut the judgment means that they are safe, the analysts said.

Ghana took the case to ITLOS in 2014 after Cote d'Ivoire persistently claimed Ghana had encroached on its marine borders as part of oil exploration activities at Cape Three Points, off the shores of the Western Region.

Cote d’Ivoire petitioned the United Nations asking for a completion of the demarcation of its maritime boundary with Ghana, and Ghana responded by setting up of the Ghana Boundary Commission.

This commission was tasked with the responsibility of negotiating with Côte d’Ivoire towards finding a lasting solution to the problem.

The commission bore no fruit and in September 2014, Ghana sent the case to ITLOS after 10 failed negotiations.
-0- PANA MA 23Sept2017

23 september 2017 16:52:30

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