World Bulletin / News Desk
Ivory Coast has decided to file an arbitration suit to resolve a lingering boundary dispute with Ghana.
"The government hopes that the move will help reach a final solution to this important issue," government spokesman Bruno Koné said in a Saturday statement.
The spokesman said that Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara had discussed the boundary dispute with his Ghanaian counterpart.
The statement said that going to international arbitration "will not affect friendship and brotherly relations between the two countries".
On Wednesday, Ghana filed an arbitration suit to resolve the dispute set off by the discovery of vast oil reserves in a maritime area between the two West African countries.
Both Ghana and Ivory Coast claim ownership of the territory, initially thought to belong to Ghana, which had exclusive possession of the area.
When Ghana found oil in 2007 and began production in 2010 at the Jubilee Field – located in the Atlantic Ocean 60km off Ghana shore – Ivory Coast petitioned the U.N. to complete the demarcation of its maritime boundary with Ghana.
International experts had suggested then that Ivorian authorities believed the Ghanaian field could extend into Ivory Coast's territory.
However, tensions escalated in April 2013, when Ivory Coast announced it had struck oil in an area adjacent to Jubilee Field – Ghana's largest oil field – and sent a correspondence to the government of Ghana casting doubt on the existing median line that divides both countries' waters.
Ghana and Ivory Coast share a 640km terrestrial border.
Both countries are signatories to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, which regulates navigational rights and territorial sea limits.
The governments of both countries set up a commission in November to come up with technical solutions to end the dispute over the area – which reportedly contains reserves of 2 billion barrels of oil and 1.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to official statistics from both countries.
Ghana is the second biggest West African client of Ivory Coast after Nigeria.
Since 2010, Ghana has been importing from Ivory Coast food products such as palm oil, yams, banana and other consumer products worth $115 million a year, representing 4.3 percent of Ivory Coast’s total export, according to Ivory Coast ministry of commerce.
In 2013, Ivory Coast imported from Ghana goods worth $22 million such as rubber and chemical products, lime plaster and cements.
Ghana produces between 110,000 and 115,000 barrels of oil per day, but wants to raise this figure to 240,000.
Ivory Coast, meanwhile, pumps between 37,000 and 40,000 barrels of oil per day, with hopes of reaching 200,000 barrels a day by 2018.Last Mod: 27 Eylül 2014, 15:05