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General News of Friday, 22 September 2017

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Maritime dispute: Okudzeto urges border discussions with Ghana’s neighbors

Former Chairman of the Ghana-Togo Border demarcation Commission, Sam Okudzeto has said it may be time for Ghana to agree with its neighbours - Burkina Faso and Togo - on its territories.

He said just like the Commission he chaired, the commission mandated to deal with the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire border demarcation did not complete its work. He said Ghana must agree with all its neighbours on the various boundaries in order to avert future disputes.

“It must be done, because this was in the sea, that is why we went to the tribunal but next time it may be inland. But this issue could still arise in the future if oil is discovered inland,” the prominent lawyer told Joy News' Mamavi Owusu Aboagye on the AM Show on Friday.

In less than 24 hours the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) will give its verdict on the maritime boundary dispute between Ghana and Cote’ d'Ivoire.

The arbitration process started in late 2014 after Ghana dragged Cote d’Ivoire to the ITLOS, the judiciary arm of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Law of the Sea, over claims by Ivory Coast that parts of the oil and gas-rich Cape Three Points, off the shores of the Western Region, belonged to it.

Ghana took the landmark decision to head to the Tribunal after it had failed to resolve the matter through diplomatic discussions with its French-speaking neighbour.

The demands by both countries are at variance – both countries want a declaration with each unwilling to make a concession.

Mr Okudzeto foresees more disputes if Ghana does not begin engaging its neighbours to fix their boundaries.

“It’s been suggested that there is a lot of oil in the Volta region, that one is not on the ocean, it is inland and so if we don’t complete our border commission, that situation can easily still arise. So it is important,” he said.

He said these issues might have been left unattended to because governments over time, have been preoccupied with “certain things that they don’t think others are important but to me, these are important issues,” he stressed.