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US interested in Ghana-Ivory Coast border dispute over oil fields

The United States is interested in the outcome of the boundary dispute  between Ghana and neighbouring Ivory Coast over parts of the Jubilee Oilfields.  Ghana and Ivory Coast have set up a commission to work out the details of how the maritime border will be demarcated, according to a top US diplomat,reports Ghana Business News.

“The United States has, as we say, no dog in the fight…we are very interested to find out the results,” US Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, William Fitzgerald told ghanabusinessnews.com February 22, 2012 when interacting with international journalists via teleconference from the US Foreign Press Centre.

His answer was in response to a question posed by ghanabusinessnews.com on how the US will help in solving the issue since Jubilee partner and American company Kosmos Energy has expressed fears about the development.

Kosmos said the future of a portion of its license in the Deepwater Tano Block is uncertain as the issue remains unresolved.

But the Ghana government has allayed the fears of stakeholders. The CEO of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Nana Boakye Asafu-Adjaye said claims of ownership of some of its oil fields by neighbouring Ivory Coast do not have merit, reports the Daily Graphic January 10, 2012.

It’s up to the Ghanaian government and the Ivorian government to solve this problem, Fitzgerald said, adding, “but not sure what the timeline is to make a decision between the two countries.”

He disclosed that both the Ivorian President, Allasane Ouattara and Ghana’s President, John Atta Mills have met over the matter.

“I know that President Ouattara and President Mills have met and discussed this and given the work over to a commission between the two countries to try and solve it in an equitable way,” Fitzgerald said.

President Mills in his State of the Nation address in Parliament February 16, 2012 tasked the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry to coordinate activities of the Ghana Boundary Commission to scale out the outer limits of the nation’s continental shelf beyond the acceptable 200 nautical miles (M).

This, he said, would ensure the continuous protection of the nation’s land and maritime resources, while encouraging good neighbourliness between the country and its neighbours, as the country’s foreign policy mandates, reports the Ghana News Agency (GNA).

President Mills explained that 200 nautical miles (M) is the United Nation’s Commission’s Limit of the Continental Shelf (CLCS).

He stressed on Ghana’s impressive track record on fostering international peace, urging the utilisation of the tools of diplomacy and existing bilateral and multilateral structures in resolving questions of boundary disputes, the GNA reported.

By Ekow Quandzie, Ghana Business News

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