Chile's Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno attends the summit of Foreign Ministers of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in Lima, November 29, 2012. The Hague's ruling set off alarms farther afield as the court will hear arguments next week on a maritime dispute between Chile and Peru, which could potentially award a swathe of Pacific Ocean under Chilean sovereignty to its northern neighbor. (Photo : Reuters)
Latin American neighbors Chile and Peru continued presenting their arguments before the International Court of Justice in The Hague stemming from a maritime dispute first presented to the ICJ in January 2008.
According to the Financial Times, Peru argues that a maritime border with its southern neighbor was never fully established. However, Chile claims that the Declaration of Santiago in 1952 established those borders.
Peru's agent to the ICJ, Allan Wagner, stated that Chile was repeating old arguments, Peruvian news wire Andina reported. "However, I would like to point out that to date Chile has failed to prove when and where the martitime boundary treaty was signed," Wagner said. "For our part, we believe that in our oral presentations we have proven that the Declaration of Santiago is not a boundary treaty."
The two nations with a history of animosity began presenting their cases on Monday. Peru, a rich fishing nation like Chile, looks to gain control of more than 35,000 square kilometers of ocean that Chile has controlled for the past 60 years.
The case has worried Chilean fisherman, who have expressed concerns of the effects the case could have on their livelihoods, FT reported.
According to Chile's TVN 24Horas, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera said, "I want to call on my compatriots to wait with patience the decision of The Hague. Know with absolute certainty that this government, this president and the entire country will know how to defend with all the strength of national unity, international law and existing treaties, our seas and our sovereignty."
FT reported that the Peru-Chile hearing comes days after the ICJ reduced Colombia's maritime territory in favor of Nicaragua. In protest, Colombia withdrew from the international treaty that recognizes the ICJ's authority.
According to the FT, Peru fears that Chile will do the same if the ICJ votes in their favor. Both countries, however, have said that they would respect the ICJ's decision and that they would not renounce the treaty.
Relations between the two countries have always been tense, especially after Peru and Bolivia lost a war against Chile in the 1800s severely affecting land boundaries. Bolivia hopes that the ICJ rules favorably to Peru so that they one day make their case to regain access to the sea, FT reported.