Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bolivia Sues Chile for Sea Access at World Court

 
TEHRAN (FNA)- Landlocked Bolivia filed a suit against Chile at the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ), demanding its neighbor provide it with an access route to the Pacific Ocean.


Bolivian President Evo Morales said at a press conference at the presidential palace in La Paz that a top-level delegation filed the suit early Wednesday at the Hague-based World Court, Xinhua reported.

"We have decided to resort to the International Court of Justice, so that justice will be done for Bolivia," Morales added.

Morales said he was confident that the court's verdict will benefit Bolivia, as the suit is historically, legally and economically justified.

Bolivia's territorial dispute with Chile can be traced back to the 1879 War of the Pacific, during which Bolivia lost 120,000 square km of land and 400 km of coast.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera reacted Wednesday, saying his government will resist any attempt to accommodate Bolivia's petition.

"I want to fully guarantee each and every one of my compatriots that we will use all instruments included in treaties and in international law (and) we will defend with full force each square meter of our territory and our sea," said Pinera.

Pinera said a 1904 border treaty signed by the two nations "is fully valid," but Bolivia claims it was pressured into signing the agreement.

Bolivia's suit calls on the World Court to obligate Chile to dialogue for a "prompt and effective" solution to the dispute.

Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca read a statement after filing the suit that explained the main arguments of the legal action.

"The Bolivian suit asks the International Court of Justice to rule that Chile has the obligation to negotiate, in good faith, with Bolivia a prompt and effective agreement to grant fully sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean. This request is not based in the 1904 Treaty," Choquehuanca said.

"The claim is not an unfriendly act against Chile or against its people. Bolivia seeks to find a definitive solution to a centennial problem of hemispheric interest," said Choquehuanca.

He added that Bolivia resorted to the court "after exhausting all means of dialogue" and "the constant delays of Chilean governments."

Meanwhile, the two nations' Northern neighbor, Peru, which has its own territorial dispute with Chile, appeared to distance itself from Bolivia's claim, calling it a bilateral issue.

Peruvian Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo said the Bolivia-Chile contention will have no impact on Peru's own case against Chile, where a decision is expected at the ICJ by mid-year.

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