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Ghana/Togo: Akufo-Addo and Gnassingbé try to settle 50-year old maritime dispute

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Thursday, 5 August 2021 18:57

Presidents Faure Gnassingbé and Nana Akufo-Addo in February 2018. Presidency of the Republic of Ghana

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo and Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbé are determined to reach an agreement on the maritime delimitation between their two countries within the next four months. The dispute has lasted for half a century, and negotiations began in 2018. Will this be the year prove fruitful?

Ghana, which already exploits the disputed cross-border maritime area, submitted a provisional demarcation line at a meeting that took place from 22 to 25 June. But Togo rejected it.

Hard-line stance

The authorities in Lomé feared that it would become permanent so they made a counter-proposal on 28 and 29 July. Stanislas Baba, Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbé’s minister-advisor for the sea, defended his country’s hard-line stance.

Baba, one of former president Gnassingbé Eyadéma’s ministers, was one of the pillars of the Code de la Marine Marchande (Merchant Marine Code) and more recently, of a law to develop, protect and enhance the coastline.

Experts as well as the two countries’ ministers in charge of maritime issues and foreign affairs will now need to meet to evaluate the various proposals and reach an agreement before 26 November. The aim is to avoid having to resort to legal action to resolve this conflict.

In the meantime, the Togolese authorities are urging their Ghanaian counterparts to help them maintain a climate of peace and good neighbourliness. According to our information, on two occasions on 7 and 13 April, the Ghanaian navy had to escort a tanker that was bound for the port of Lomé to the edge of the disputed zone. These two incidents particularly irritated Togo and complicated the negotiations.

However, the two countries had agreed to organise joint patrols, fishing, research and non-invasive exploration, mining research as well as maritime navigation within this area.

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