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ITLOS decision won’t tear the two countries apart – Dr. Mbiah

Dr. Kofi Mbiah

Dr. Kofi Mbiah, has praised Ghana’s decision to resolve its maritime dispute with Ivory Coast at the court amidst fears by some that it may hurt the relationship between the two countries.

The immediate past Chairman of the International Maritime Organization’s Legal Committee, was emphatic that the outcome “will not tear [the two] countries apart”.

Ghana went to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) after fruitless attempts to settle its maritime dispute with Cote d’Ivoire amicably.  After years of sitting on the case, ITLOS ruled on Saturday among others that Ghana did not violate the right of Côte d’Ivoire with its oil activities.

Digesting the ruling at a Media General News Lecture on Monday, Dr. Mbiah who is the former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers Authority, said Ghana going to ITLOS was not “adversarial”.

It was a decision agreed by the two countries since both subscribe to the fact that ITLOS should be the place to go should there be any disagreement between them, he explained.

The Lecture was chaired by Justice Francis Emile Short

The lecture was under the theme, “Making Sense of the ITLOS Judgement on Ghana-Ivory Coast maritime Boundary Dispute”.

“The good thing was that when Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, the judgement was handed down, they all gave indication that they will respect the judgement of the tribunal,” he explained.

He also noted that the litigation that has been settled would not affect much the areas fishermen from the two countries operate.

Dr. Mbiah had early on opined that boundary delimitation is a problem for many countries.

“The first thing is to agree on the boundaries” he noted, if the parties agreed then there is no issue.

He indicated that now that technology is speeding up development and help make discovery easy, issue of demarcation should be taken serious by countries.

Weighing into the ruling which favoured Ghana, the maritime expert was not enthused by the numerous adjectives especially used by the media to describe the outcome of the ruling, stating “getting our resources is what is important”.

By Isaac Essel | 3news.com |Ghana

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