IVORY COAST DENIES MARITIME BOUNDARY AGREEMENT WITH GHANA

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IVORY COAST DENIES MARITIME BOUNDARY AGREEMENT WITH GHANA.

Ivory Coast has denied concluding an agreement with Ghana on its maritime boundary. Ghana earlier argued that both countries share a long-standing agreement on its maritime boundary, per their domestic laws, calling on the ITLOS to dismiss Ivory Coast’s claims.

But Ivory Coast’s Minister of Mines, Petroleum and Energy, and Head of the country’s delegation at the ITLOS, Adama Toungara on Thursday refuted such claims, saying his country never arrived at an agreement on the maritime boundary with Ghana. “Mr. President,  even if Cote D’lvoire and Ghana have concluded an agreement on their land boundary, Cote D’lvoire and Ghana have never concluded an agreement on the maritime boundary, despite meetings of the Ivorian Ghanaian commission on delimitation of maritime boundary, despite meetings between Ministers entrusted with these matters and despite several meetings with Heads of State.  The state I represent, has constantly repeated over the years since 1988- date of the consensual demarcation of the land boundary, that Cote D’lvoire and Ghana have never arrived at an agreement on delimitation of their maritime boundary,”he said during Ivory Coast’s oral argument at the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). The two countries are at the Tribunal after several talks over their maritime boundary in the Atlantic Ocean failed. Ghana ended the first round of oral argument on the case on Tuesday. Ghana’s new Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, who led the legal team, during the first round of Ghana’s argument, questioned Ivory Coast’s claims, despite a long standing agreement on their maritime boundary under their domestic laws. Ivory Coast had accused Ghana of using the development of its oil industry to annex the territory which does not belong to it. – However, disputing this argument, Madam Akuffo said Ghana had developed its oil industry based on pre-existing maritime boundary the two countries have mutually recognized over the years. “It is on the basis of this tacit, mutual understanding that, that over many years Ghana has developed this industry step by step, openly, from the first licensing of blocks, through decades of studies, exploratory drilling and the eventual drilling of wells” she told the Special Chamber when it resumed public hearing on Tuesday, February 6, 2017. Based on this, she prayed the Chamber “to affirm the customary equidistance boundary” as the maritime boundary for the two countries.

BY: EUGENIA TEKORANG/CITIFMONLINE.COM/GHANA.

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