The non-partisan Coalition for Democratic Governance (CDG) has commended former President Mahama for his role in starting the proceedings at the ITLOS tribunal which eventually led to Ghana winning her maritime dispute against Cote d’Ivoire.
In a statement released on Monday, September 25, the group praised Mahama for pursuing the course of arbitration when negotiations with Cote d’Ivoire stalled.
“Whilst enjoying the positive outcome of this verdict, we should also ponder on the risk factor born by “incompetent” ex-President John Dramani Mahama. He sustained the intractable bilateral negotiations with Cote d’Ivoire and after years of stalemate opted out to pursue the maritime boundary conflict at the ITLOS.” the statement said.
The International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea ruled last week in favour of Ghana in the long standing maritime dispute over newly discovered offshore oil fields. The tribunal found that Ghana had not infringed on the rights of Cote d’Ivoire in anyway in exploring the disputed seas.
The CDG expressed joy at the ruling, and also thanked the current government for continuing the case when they took over. In the spirit of non-partinsanship, CDG also called for the Maritime Boundary Secretariat, established by the Late Prof Mills whilst in power, to be adequately resourced to “unreservedly ascertain our maritime boundary with Togo and also the land boundary with Burkina Faso.”
Read full statement below…
ITLOS verdict on the Maritime Boundary Dispute between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire
Ghana, our beloved country, is in a state of great relief and joy for the favourable judgement by the special chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), on the maritime boundary dispute between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
The Coalition for Democratic Governance (CDG), a non-partisan voluntary association of individuals who adhere to social democratic principles, fully share the satisfaction and joy of the verdict. Most members of CDG followed live the judgement process with moments of apprehension and palpitations, as the verdicts were being unveiled with mostly incomprehensible technical details.
The Special Chamber of ITLOS, in its Judgment on the 23 September2017, unanimously decided as follows:
1 that it has jurisdiction to delimit the maritime boundary between the Parties in the territorial sea, in the exclusive economic zone and on the continental shelf, both within and beyond 200 nautical miles (200nm):
2 that there is no tacit agreement between the Parties to delimit their territorial sea, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf both within and beyond 200 nm, and rejects Ghana’s claim that Côte d’Ivoire is stopped from objecting to the “customary equidistance boundary”;
3 Decides that the single maritime boundary for the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf within and beyond 200 nm starts at BP 55+ with determined coordinates as a geodetic datum and is defined by identified turning points with established coordinates and connected by geodetic lines;
4 That it has jurisdiction to decide on the claim of Côte d’Ivoire against Ghana on the alleged international responsibility of Ghana.
Then came the moment of relief and cautious optimism when the special chamber continued with the following findings:
5 That Ghana did not violate the sovereign rights of Côte d’Ivoire;
6 That Ghana did not violate article 83, paragraphs 1 and 3, of the Convention;
7 That Ghana did not violate the provisional measures prescribed by the Special Chamber in its Order of 25 April 2015.”
It is heartening to note that, in the spirit of good neighbourliness and Pan Africanism, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire have jointly agreed to abide by the decision of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) as contained in their joint communique, inter alia:
Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana seize the opportunity to reiterate the mutual commitment of the two countries to abide by the terms of this decision from the Special Chamber and to fully collaborate for its implementation. The two countries affirm the strong will to work together to strengthen and intensify their brotherly relationships of cooperation and good neighbourliness.
Furthermore, the CDG has learnt with pleasure that from the preliminary plotting of the new boundary, starting from the new coastal point established by the court, there is a slight deviation into the east up to where the Tano field is. It then follows Ghana’s customary boundary line southwards, through to the 200 nm point and beyond, thus preserving the TEIN and Hess fields. Apart from the expected boom for investments in the oil industry, the net gain to Ghana from the coast to the outer continental shelf is about 80.5 sq. km.
Whilst enjoying the positive outcome of this verdict, we should also ponder on the risk factor born by “incompetent” ex-President John Dramani Mahama. He sustained the intractable bilateral negotiations with Cote d’Ivoire and after years of stalemate opted out to pursue the maritime boundary conflict at the ITLOS. If the outcome had been negative, there would have been by now a sea of criticism and condemnation of ex-President Mahama, at best, attributable to his youthful exuberance.
The Coalition for Democratic Governance also expresses its appreciation to the current government for not choosing the path of least resistance, by discontinuing the case but sought the collaboration of the former Attorney General Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong alongside the current Attorney General Ms Gloria Akufo.
8 The CDG considers this resounding victory as a clear manifestation that Ghana can surmount its complex problems of socioeconomic development if all our technical and professional expertise is harnessed in a non- partisan spirit. The CDG therefore calls on the government to resource and empower the permanent Maritime Border Secretariat, established by the late President Prof Attah Mills to unreservedly ascertain our maritime boundary with Togo and also the land boundary with Burkina Faso.
Dr. E. K. Hayford