Friday, May 18, 2007

Sierra Leone looks to end border row with Guinea

Freetown - Sierra Leone may turn to a regional west African court to end a dragging border feud with Guinea over the diamond-rich Yenga region, the speaker of parliament said on Thursday.
Edmund Cowan, who earlier in the day met with officials from the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), said earlier efforts to resolve the dispute that proved "futile".
"So there is the possibility to take the matter to the Ecowas Court of Justice rather than at The Hague," he told the Ecowas delegation.
The Abuja-based Ecowas court came into effect last year and is staffed by judges from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.

"This will put the Ecowas Court of Justice to the test as the ownership of Yenga could be best dealt with by the court (because it) knows and understands the African setting better," added Cowan.
Though sparsely populated, the hilly area in Sierra Leone's western Kailahun district is rich in diamonds. It is currently occupied by Guinean troops.
The dispute over the 640km border dates back to colonial times when Britain, which ruled Sierra Leone and France, which controlled Guinea, demarcated the border in 1912.
Several African countries have turned to the International Court of Justice at The Hague to settle territorial disputes.
The 15-nation Ecowas was established in 1975 to promote economic integration, peace and stability in the region.

Link to IOL: S Leone looks to end border row with Guinea