Ghana sues Cote d’Ivoire over maritime dispute


After years of failed negotiations, Ghana has finally filed a suit against Cote d’Ivoire over its maritime boundary with the neighbouring West African country.

Ghana, in the suit, would seek a declaration that it has not encroached the territorial waters of Cote d’Ivoire in the exploration of oil. Ghana’s arbitration proceeding is under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

In 2010, Ivory Coast petitioned the United Nations to complete the demarcation of the Ivorian  maritime boundary  with Ghana days after the American exploration firm Vanco discovered oil in the Dzata-1 deepwater-well.  The issue attracted considerable media attention, and some local media claimed that the petition was an attempt by Ivory Coast to lay claim to Ghana’s oil.

A former Minister for Lands and Natural Resources Alhaji Inusah Fuseini in November 2013 had warned in an interview with Joy FM’s Super Morning Show that the dispute between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire may end up at the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea .

That notwithstanding, a joint committee was set up by both countries to address the matter early this year. Ghana had hoped the maritime committee resolved the dispute peacefully by the middle of the year.

But sources close to Joy News say, Ghana has served Cote d’Ivoire with a notification of arbitration in order to avoid a diplomatic row.

The statement of claim by Ghana reads in part:  “Having failed to reach a settlement after successive negotiations and exchange of views over an extended period of time, Ghana has elected to submit the dispute concerning the determination of each maritime boundary with Cote d’Ivoire to the arbitral procedure provided for under Annex VII of UNCLOS.”

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong  will lead Ghana’s legal delegation to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea after the necessary legal documents have been filed and served on parties in the dispute.

Joy News has also learnt the Attorney General will address a news conference later today on the matter.

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