GHANA, COTE D’IVORE AGREE ON MARITIME BOUNDARY

Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire have jointly plotted the seven (7) coordinates and azimuth in accordance with the ITLOS decision and have agreed to execute a document evidencing the plotted boundary at the next meeting scheduled for October 2018 in Cote d’Ivoire.
A Communiqué prepared and signed by the Senior Minister, Hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo and Hon. Adama Toungara on behalf of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire respectively indicates that the parties agreed to discuss the draft Framework Agreement on cooperation in the areas of maritime boundary, hydrocarbons and other natural resources between the two countries at the next meeting.
Ghana indicated that it had reviewed the chart with the plotted coordinates of the maritime boundary as provided by ITLOS submitted by Cote d’Ivoire at the May 2018 meeting in Abidjan and found it to be acceptable in principle.
The Special Chamber of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), ruled in favor of Ghana in the three-year-long maritime dispute between the country and Côte d’Ivoire.
The Chamber in a unanimous decision on September 23, 2017, ruled that there has not been any violation on the part of Ghana on Côte d’Ivoire’s maritime boundary.
The Chamber rejected Côte d’Ivoire’s argument that Ghana’s coastal lines were unstable.
It also noted that Ghana has not violated Côte d’Ivoire’s sovereign rights with its oil exploration in the disputed basin.
Justice Boualem Bouguetaia, President of the Special Chamber in reading the judgment, accepted Ghana’s argument of adoption of the equidistance method of delineation of the maritime boundary.
In consideration of the new boundary, the Chamber determined that it starts from boundary 55 -200 nautical miles away, a position much closer to what Ghana was arguing for.
Analysts say Ghana would now have to wait to see how the final map looks, once the coordinates are plotted in the sea using boundary pillar BP 55+ on a common land boundary, as a starting point for drawing the new equidistance line.
In 2014, Ghana took the case to ITLOS to dispel claims it has encroached Cote d’Ivoire’s marine borders as part of oil exploration activities at Cape Three Points, off the shores of the Western Region.
Ghana’s defense held that Cote d’Ivoire was barred from demanding ownership to the disputed area it had acknowledged that Ghana owned without any qualms in the decades leading up to the oil discovery.
The oral hearings for the dispute were concluded in February 2017.
By William Sarpong

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