A-G Optimistic Of Ghana’s Victory In Boundary Case

Mrs Marrietta Brew Appiah-Oppong addressing the media .Photo,Seth OSABUKLEThe Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Mrs. Marrieta Brew Appiah-Opong, is optimistic that Ghana will win the case against Cote d’Ivoire on the maritime boundary.

At a news conference in Accra yesterday, she stated that “Looking at the demarcation between the two countries and for that matter the location of the oil deposit, it is clear that the area in question belongs to Ghana”.

Flanked by the Ministers of Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osa Mills, and Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, Energy and Petroleum, Mrs. Appiah-Opong said Ghana had initiated arbitration proceedings under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to establish its maritime boundary with Cote d’ Ivoire in a manner that was equitable to both states.

“Ghana regards the move as a peaceful and friendly means of bringing to a final resolution, a long standing and costly dispute between neighbouring states”.

The Attorney-General was quick to add that though Ghana had initiated the move, that would not in any way mar the excellent relationship and bond existing between the two countries.

According to her, since 2008 Ghana had initiated a number of moves to amicably settle the matter, but that did not go down with Cote d’ Ivoire, hence the move for arbitration.

“Despite several years of good faith negotiations, including at least 10 rounds of bilateral meetings, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire have been unable to agree upon the location of their maritime boundary”, she explained.

Mrs. Appiah-Opong said consistent with the Law of the Sea Convention and international case law, including numerous decisions of the International Court of Justice, and arbitration tribunals, Ghana maintains that the boundary should be defined by an equidistant line.

“In recent times, Cote d’ Ivoire has chosen to adopt a different approach”, she said, noting that “At stake is a large area of sea and seabed, including the natural resources they contain, vital for economic development and wellbeing of those countries and their people”.

The minister noted that the two countries’ overlapping claims were generating uncertainty about the location of the maritime boundary, and uncertainty on the part of the domestic and foreign partners regarding their rights and responsibilities.

That, she said, was especially so in relation to oil and gas exploration and production, with all consequences implied for future development.

The Attorney-General said the case, expected to last for three years, would be heard by five arbitrators, consisting of one appointed by each party and three by mutual agreement, who would be appointed by the International Tribunal of the Sea in Hamburg, Germany.

She disclosed that Ghana had appointed Judge Thomas Mensah, former President of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea, as a member of the tribunal.

The minister noted that the arbitrators would decide the case by majority vote, and their decision would be final and binding on the parties.

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