Ghana–Ivory Coast relations
|This article is outdated. (November 2010)|
Ghana-Ivory Coast relations suffered from the same ups and downs that characterized Ghana-Togo relations. In early 1984, the PNDC government complained that Ivory Coast was allowing Ghanaian dissidents to use its territory as a base from which to carry out acts of sabotage against Ghana. Ghana also accused Ivory Coast of granting asylum to political agitators wanted for crimes in Ghana. Relations between Ghana and Ivory Coast improved significantly, however, after 1988. In 1989, after fifteen years of no progress, the Ghana-Ivory Coast border redemarcation commission finally agreed on the definition of the 640-kilometer border between the two countries. The PNDC thereafter worked to improve the transportation and communication links with both Ivory Coast and Togo, despite problems with both countries.
By 1992 Ghana's relations with Ivory Coast were relatively good. Hopes for lasting improvement in Ghana's relations with its western neighbor, however, were quickly dashed following some ugly incidents in late 1993 and early 1994. They began on November 1, 1993, with the return of sports fans to Ivory Coast following a championship soccer match in Kumasi, Ghana, that had resulted in the elimination of Ivory Coast from competition. Ghanaian immigrants in Ivory Coast were violently attacked, and as many as forty or more Ghanaians were killed.
Thereafter, scores of other Ghanaians lost their property as they fled for their lives. Some 1,000 homes and businesses were looted. More than 10,000 Ghanaians out of the approximately 1 million living in Ivory Coast were immediately evacuated by the Ghanaian government, and more than 30,000 Ghanaians were reported to have sought refuge in the Ghanaian and other friendly embassies. A twenty-member joint commission (ten from each country) was established to investigate the attacks, to recommend compensation for victims, and to find ways of avoiding similar incidents in the future. In October 1994, the two nations resumed soccer matches after a Togolese delegation helped smooth relations between them.
Ivory Coast-Ghanaian Border Dispute
In 2010, the West African country Ivory Coast petitioned the United Nations to complete the demarcation of the Ivorian maritime boundary with Ghana. This occurred just days after the American exploration firm Vanco discovered oil in the Dzata-1 deepwater-well. The issue attracted considerable media attention, and some Ghanaian press sources claimed that the petition was an attempted oil grab by Ivory Coast. The Ghanaian authorities responded by passing the Ghana Boundary Commission Bill, establishing a commission with the purpose of undertaking negotiations in order to determine the country’s land and maritime boundaries. The Boundary Commission held a meeting with Ivorian delegates at the end of April, and the Ivorian delegation was led by Désiré Tagro, the Interior Minister. The two sides did negotiate on the delimitations according to international law. The results of the fourth meeting were not announced, and no meetings have occurred since then. However, the presidents of the two countries did meet at the Presidential Palace in Abidjan on 15 July 2010 and discussed the boundary dispute, amongst other bilateral issues. At the moment, progress appears to be slow, and the nature of the discussions is uncertain.
Both countries have however expressed a desire to peacefully solve the dispute. Both countries had previously submitted routine documents to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in April–May 2009. Both countries’ submissions mentioned that neither has signed any maritime boundary delimitation agreements with any of its neighbouring states. To date, there are no pending cases of open dockets on the case at the International Court of Justice or at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.