Business News of Tuesday, 4 December 2018
The Government of Ghana has held a meeting with neighbouring country Togo to continue negotiations on the maritime boundary demarcations that would ensure mutual understanding between both countries regarding exploration activities.
Marking the third meeting of the Ghana-Togo boundary negotiations after a successful one in Togo’s capital, Lome in October this year, National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah who stood in for the Senior Minister headed Ghana’s delegation team to ensure both parties come to a consensus.
Speaking at the meeting, Kan Dapaah reiterated government’s commitment in ensuring the interests of both countries are protected and optimised.
According to him, while negotiation for delimitation continues, it is important that both parties share relevant information among themselves so as to get an outcome that is grounded in international law, utilizing all the established principles governing it.
Togo’s representative, Hubert Matchonnawe Bakai who is the Chief of Cabinet for High Council of the Sea, said his country wants Ghana to commit to the provisional agenda they agreed on at the previous meeting in Lome.
He said the provisional agenda which has a technical and political aspect must be followed accordingly.
Making recommendations on the way forward and how the negotiation process can be solved amicably, Mr. Matchonnawe Bakai maintained that Ghana must take its navy out of the transboundary area.
He stressed that the positioning of Ghana’s national navy at the transboundary area is inappropriate as both parties do not have limitations yet until negotiation is completed.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, the Head of Ghana’s Technical Delegation Team, Lawrence Apaalse said both Ghana and Togo have still not come to a consensus and until that is achieved, Ghana will continue to engage Togo in the negotiation process on the maritime boundary demarcation.
He indicated that if the negotiation fails after several attempts, they will then resort to a third party arbitration to make sure the issue is resolved just as it happened in the case of the Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire maritime dispute.
“If we had a compromise we will not be meeting, everybody has his understanding of the issues and normally when people have different understanding to an issue you negotiate, you meet and negotiate. Giving the three rounds of negotiation so far it is quite possible that we are not reaching consensus very soon, that does not say that we will not reach consensus and from my training from maritime boundary delimitation when you ask the question when negotiation fails what do we do?”.
“The answer is you negotiate, and when you ask again when negotiation fails what is the next step the answer is you negotiate. So the issue is you negotiate till it hurts, when it hurts both sides would be very clear that it hurts and then move to the next step which is third party arbitration and that is when you invite third party people to come in,” he said.
Ghana’s upstream oil and gas activities toward its eastern border with Togo have, in the recent past, met firm opposition from Togo, leading to the cessation of activities between December 2017 and May 2018.
Officials from Togo also stopped two vessels from Ghana from undertaking seismic activities to acquire data after the country (Togo) claimed ownership of the disputed maritime boundary.
This comes on the heels of the landmark resolution of a similar impasse between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire over a maritime border demarcation.