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Ghana – Togo, agree on joint sub-committee to delimit common maritime boundary

Lands and Natural Resources Minister Samuel A. Jinapor in a group picture with the joint Ghana/Togo Maritime Technical Committee at the opening ceremony of the 7th Meeting

Negotiators of the Republics of Ghana and Togo, have agreed to set up a joint sub technical committee to undertake the  delimitation of the common maritime boundary between their respective countries and report back to the plenary session at the next meeting at the end of the month of July.

The team of negotiators of the two West African neighbours reached the agreement at their 7th meeting of the Joint Technical Committee set up by the two countries to find a peaceful solution to the dispute at the Labadi Beach Hotel today the 25th of June 2021.

Joint Communique

A joint communique issued by the two countries to confirm the latest development at the end of their three (3) day meeting (23rd to 25th June 2021) were rooted in the “special bond of kinship, brotherhood and friendship which exists between Ghana and Togo, sustained through our history, geography and culture”.

“Having agreed to negotiate in a spirit of friendly relations and good neighbourliness on the basis of the special bond and to ensure the maintenance of peace and stability between the two countries, agreed to proceed with the delimitation of the common maritime boundary between our two countries.”

The communique read: “At the 7th Meeting of the Joint Technical Committee of the Ghana-Togo Maritime Boundary Delimitation held in Accra, Ghana, from 22 to 25 June, 2021, the Parties agreed as follows: “Upon the presentation of the Provisional Maritime Boundary Line by Ghana, the delegation from Togo took notice of Ghana’s proposed line and requested for time to examine it before the next Plenary Meeting.”

“The two Parties agreed to defer further discussions on the Provisional Arrangements to the next Plenary Meeting. The Parties agreed to set up a Joint Sub- Technical Committee for the delimitation of the final Maritime Boundary. The Sub-Committee shall submit their report at the next plenary meeting at Lomé scheduled to take place in Lomé from 27 to 30 July, 2021,” the communique further read.

Previous Negotiations

Ghana and Togo have been holding negotiations regarding the common maritime boundary since 2018. These negotiations were as a result of concerns raised by Togo when it noted that the maritime boundaries between her and Ghana were not clearly defined.

To promote peace and good neighborliness between Ghana and Togo, the Heads of State of the two countries, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (Ghana) and President Faure Gnassingbe (Togo), agreed in 2018 that a peaceful and coordinated joint effort rooted in international law and standards, guides the delimitation of the maritime boundary between Togo and Ghana.

The Joint Technical Committee from Ghana and Togo have been holding bilateral meetings since 2018 to peacefully and consensually delimit the common maritime boundary between Ghana and Togo, in accordance with international law.

National Security Minister

Minister for National Security, Albert Kan Dappah, in a brief remark at the closing ceremony of the 7th meeting noted that he was satisfied with the level of work that had been done. He added that he is confident that the ultimate goal of reaching a delimited common maritime boundary would be achieved sooner rather than later.

“Looking at the progress made so far, I am convinced that the outcome of your effort and technical support towards the amicable resolution of any contention in respect of our common boundary will ultimately redefine and also consolidate the parameters of our future relations which will serve as a catalyst for peace, security, economic advancement and stability. The relevance and mutual benefits of ensuring boarder cooperation and good neighbourliness between our two countries cannot be over emphasized,” the National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dappah said.

B.C. Coordinator

National Coordinator of the Ghana Boundary Commission, Brigadier General (Dr) Emmanuel Kotia, briefing the Press after the closing ceremony of the 7th meeting noted that the meeting came out with a number of issues that are of utmost importance. “The first issue was that the land-boundary terminus which is referred to as Pillar one(1), has been identified by a joint sub-technical committee and adopted by both Ghana and Togo”.

“The second issue is that, Ghana maintains the position that the Customary Maritime Boundary that has been in place for over 60 years now and has been respected by both parties should be the provisional maritime line for our maritime boundary demarcation.”

“The Togolese did not have any immediate objection to the proposal but they only asked for more time to study our proposal and then we can proceed. I believe it is a positive move because for the very first time, since these talks began, we’ve had the Togolese acknowledging the provisional line that Ghana has presented and therefore, the perception is that discussions are going to move forward” Brigadier General Emmanuel Kotia said.

The Negotiation

The Seventh Joint Ghana-Togo Technical Committee meeting was aimed at further deliberations on the technical parameters and most importantly, to determine technical arrangements pending the delimitation of the maritime boundaries.

The successful determination of a common delimitated maritime boundary between the two countries will pave the way for the signing of the final Ghana-Togo Maritime Boundary Delimitation Agreement.

The bilateral meeting had the National Commission of Maritime Boundaries of the Republic of Togo representing the Togolese side and the Maritime Technical Committee of the Ghana Boundary Commission representing the Ghana side.

Click to watch proceedings of the 7th Meeting of the Joint Technical Committee in Accra from 23rd to 25th of June 2021.

Wilberforce Asare

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