The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, says Ghana is committed to resolving the outstanding issues on the delimitation of the maritime boundary between the country and Togo.
He said, in devotion to the United Nations Charter and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Ghana looks forward to resolving the boundary issue through negotiations.
Speaking at the opening of the Seventh Session of the Joint Ghana-Togo Maritime Boundary Negotiations on Wednesday, Mr Abu Jinapor said even though the Ghanaian government is pleased with the progress made so far in resolving the matter, there is still some work to be done.
“We are however reassured by the renewed commitments, contained in the joint communique issued at the end of the last session held in Lome, to conclude discussions on the provisional arrangements for the temporary management of the Transboundary Area. These provisional arrangements when agreed at this session, will be adopted by both countries and shall remain in force whilst negotiations continue in good faith to resolve substantive issues,” he said.
“In matters of this nature, direct negotiations, as dictated by article 33 of the United Nations Charter, have always been the best. But even more importantly, we are enjoined by UNCLOS, which both Ghana and Togo signed on December 10, 1982,” he added.
The Lands Minister is optimistic that the roadmap adopted at the last session will be adhered to in the “hope that a final agreement will be reached before the end of the year.”
Mr Abu Jinapor disclosed that a technical sub-committee had met to reconcile date from the two countries, saying “it is our hope that these provisional arrangements will be concluded in this session as promised.”
The Minister acknowledged the longstanding relationship between both countries, dating back to colonial times.
He also pointed to Ghana and Togo being parties to the African Union Convention on Cross-Border Cooperation, which calls for peaceful resolution of border disputes, and to transform border areas into catalysts for growth and socio-economic and political integration of the of the entire continent.
“Indeed, most of our people are related by blood, and bonded together by common ancestries and cultural practices. We have peacefully co-existed as neighbours, traded, farmed, fished and married among ourselves. We should not allow this issue to disturb this peace we have enjoyed over the years,” he said.
The Republic of Togo raised concerns in 2016 about the demarcation of the maritime boundary between Ghana and Togo.
The presidents of the two countries intervened to prevent a conflict situation from developing and a committee was set to agree on a common boundary demarcation.