Nicaragua , Colombia Agree to Talks to Ease Tensions Over Disputed Territorial Waters

13.09.2013 18:12

BOGOTÁ , COLOMBIA – Nicaraguan
President Daniel Ortega said on Tuesday
he accepts Colombian President Juan
Manuel Santos' offer to talk about the
ongoing territorial dispute over waters
surrounding San Andres and Providencia
islands, adding he agrees the dispute
should not lead to a confrontation.
On Monday , Santos said he will do
everything in his power to
prevent Nicaragua 's "expansionist "
ambitions over domestic territory and
called an international court ruling that
gave waters in theCaribbeanSea
to Nicaragua inapplicable.
After years of diplomatic wrangling,
theInternational Court of Justicein
November 2012 drew a demarcation line
in favor of Nicaragua , reducing the
expanse of ocean belonging
to Colombiaand sparking a diplomatic
dispute that led both sides to send
armed vessels to patrol the contested
But on Tuesday , Ortega said he wanted
to focus on peace.
“ I would like to emphasize , in all of this,
the elements we should strengthen . The
topics we should strengthen . One , the
ratification on behalf of theColombian
government , of President Santos of not
taking this situation to a confrontation. I
other words , that peace should prevail,”
Ortega said during a televised address to
the nation .
He said he was open to talks over the
“I accept President Santos' and Foreign
Minister Holguin' s offer ,” Ortega said .
“We are willing to work so that , since the
court's ruling (International Court of
Justice ), of that court ruling, we should
reach an agreement , a treaty that would
allow us to make the transition of what
was a situation , as I said , where there
was a dispute to a situation where the
dispute has been solved .”
Ortega took issue with Santos'
characterization of Nicaragua as
“ expansionist.”
“It 's totally ridiculous
calling Nicaragua ‘ expansionist’ when on
the contrary ,Nicaragua has been a victim
of expansionism during different
moments in its history. This is a matter
involving laws. Not a matter of
expansionism. Expansionism imposes
itself by force, by blackmail, by the use of
weapons , by military occupation . But
here we are talking that we both went to
see a judge . We accepted to see a judge
and we are obliged to accept the
sentence pronounced by the judge ,”
Ortega said .
Colombia has been angered by Ortega's
plans to allow foreign companies to
explore for oil in Caribbeanseas
that Colombia maintains are its own and
Santos has ordered his navy to remain in
the disputed waters.