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Page added on September 28, 2012
Sierra Leone yesterday September 26, 2012, signed two agreements in which the nation acceded to two treaties on sub-regional cooperation relating to the extension of the outer limits of the continental shelf. (Photo: Ambassador Touray signs the treaties while Director Sesay (left) and the Norwegian Ambassador Longva look on)
Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Shekou M.Touray, was given the enabling powers to sign the agreements on behalf of the Government and State of Sierra Leone, concerning the accession of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the Framework Agreement on sub-regional cooperation between the Governments of the Republics of Cape Verde, Guinea- Bissau, Guinea, Mauritania and Senegal on the Establishment of the Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles, signed in New York 21 Sept 2010; and the Treaty concerning the accession of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the Agreement on Technical and Financial Cooperation between the Republics of Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mauritania and Senegal on the one hand and the Kingdom of Norway on the other,on intended Norwegian support to the Establishment of the Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles, signed in New York on 21 Sept 2010, and Additional Protocol to this Agreement, signed in New York on 20 Sept 2011.
In accordance with the UN Convention on The Law of the Sea ( UNCLOS) , every coastal state is entitled to 200 nautical miles of its coastal waters as its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). However , the convention provides for an extension beyond the 200 nautical miles after due process .
Both of the agreements were already in existence between the other signatories, excluding Sierra Leone , but after yesterday’s landmark signing ceremony, Sierra Leone is now a full partner to the multilateral agreements. The foreign ministers of the other 5 countries signed on behalf of their nations , while the Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Shekou M. Turay signed on behalf of Sierra Leone, in the absence of Foreign Minister , Hon. J.B. Dauda .
The Director of International Organizations and Legal Affairs Division of Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Alhusine Sesay, who piloted the program in collaboration with the Deputy Permanent Representative/Legal, Ambassador Osman Keh Kamara, said that the benefits of the agreements will be immense .According to him, if Sierra Leone’s continental shelf gets extended by additional 200 nautical miles, as the case may be, it will provide more exploratory territory for the country’s marine resources, oil and gas.
According to Ambassador Touray, “an Agreement on the outer limits of our maritime borders is a good one and in one way promotes peaceful coexistence with our sub-regional neighbors. It further helps to provide documentation which could help us secure and protect our rights and obligations within that respective domain…. The Desk Top studies and resulting data analysis based on the Technical and Financial cooperation with Norway will also help to back up our submission to the United Nations Commission on the Outer Limits Of The Continental Shelf for the delineation of our Continental shelf, which is in progress.”
The DPR/Legal Affairs Ambassador Keh Kamara, explained that accurate data analysis regarding our maritime boundaries will guide the Government in enacting appropriate and up-to-date legislation governing Sierra Leone’s maritime space and its resources.
Representing Sierra Leone at the signing ceremony were the Permanent Representative, Ambassador Touray; the DPR/Legal Ambassador Keh Kamara and Director Alhusine Sesay.
By Kabs Kanu, USA
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