Ghana Initiates Arbitration Proceedings to Settle Boundary Dispute with Cote d'Ivoire
The case, according to the AG will take at least three years. The two parties are to agree on three independent arbitrators by mutual consent. The president of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to which both countries belong to, will be compelled to appoint the arbitrators should the two parties fail to reach an agreement on the arbitrators.
The decision of the arbitrators will be final. There will be no room for appeal. The Minister said all Ghana’s operations in oil fields that fall within the disputed boundary will continue operating in the interim.
Energy Minister Emmanuel Amah Kofi Buah said at the press conference that the claim of The Ivory Coast indeed affects some of Ghana’s concessions.
Also Minister of Communication, Dr Edward Omane Boamah said despite the warm relationship between Ghana and The Ivory Coast, the British colony has “a sacred duty of protecting our natural resources not just for this generation but also generations unborn”.
Ghana filed the suit based on Article 287 Annex VII of the 1982 UNCLOS.
The statement of claim avers, among other things, that pursuant to articles 286 and 287 of the 1982 UNCLOS, and in accordance with Article 1 Annex 1, the Republic of Ghana had served notice to the Republic of The Ivory Coast to the effect that “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”.
Ghana discovered oil in commercial quantities offshore the Western Region in June 2007, but the Ivorian authorities have been laying claim to the discovery.
The dispute received wide media attention in the past, resulting in leaders from both countries engaging in talks to resolve their differences.
And to compound the issue, oil companies operating in the oilfields have been receiving threatening letters from The Ivory Coast asking them to leave the site.