Colombian, Nicaraguan leaders to discuss boundary row



Lima: Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said here Friday he hopes to speak in the most respectful, civilized way with Nicaraguan counterpart Daniel Ortega about a world court ruling that awarded Managua waters long claimed by Bogota.

"It's possible I'll have a meeting with President Ortega tomorrow. And we're going to discuss all of this in the most prudent, the most discreet way possible," Santos said in Lima, where he is attending the Summit of the Union of South American Nations.

The Colombian and Nicaraguan leaders plan to meet in Mexico City, where both will be attending Saturday's inauguration of new Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Santos announced Wednesday that Colombia is pulling out of a pact recognizing the International Court of Justice's jurisdiction over its territorial disputes, a step in response to the decision setting new maritime borders with Nicaragua.

The Hague-based ICJ ruled Nov 19 that seven Caribbean islets belong to Colombia, ending a three-decade-long dispute between the Andean nation and Nicaragua.

The world court had earlier confirmed Bogota's claim to the larger islands of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina, part of an archipelago that lies 775 km from mainland Colombia and 220 km from the coast of Nicaragua.

While giving the islets to Colombia, the decision also significantly expanded the waters under Nicaraguan control.

The waters conceded to Nicaragua include lucrative fishing grounds and what are thought to be substantial oil deposits.

Besides turning away from the ICJ, Bogota said this week it will not comply with the maritime borders established with Nicaragua before making sure the rights of Colombians will be "well defended".

"What the Colombian people have to understand very clearly is that we will make every effort to achieve the goal of re-establishing the rights of all Colombians - individual rights, constitutional rights - which this decision violated," Santos said Friday in Lima.

IANS