Bogota slams Managua's 'insatiable appetite' in seas row

5th October 2015, Comments 0 comments

Colombia on Monday urged international justices to halt Nicaragua's "insatiable appetite" for expanding its maritime zones, arguing it was time to end a long-running border dispute.

"Nicaragua lays claim to a continental shelf that extends virtually across the whole Caribbean, from Jamaica, Colombia, Panama to Costa Rica," Colombia's former attorney general Carlos Gustavo Arrieta told AFP.

Such claims were "exaggerated," he argued, adding they were technically incorrect and "reflect Nicaragua's insatiable appetite."

Although the two countries share no land borders, diplomatic relations have been strained for almost a century over disputed maritime limits.

Two cases are now before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the first of which saw Nicaragua starting proceedings against Colombia for allegedly violating its sovereign and maritime rights.

In the second case, which opened Monday, Managua asked the court to delimit the maritime boundary between the two countries beyond 200 nautical miles off the Nicaraguan coastline.

Bogota however is challenging the ICJ's jurisdiction to rule on how far the continental shelf extends.

Colombia withdrew from a 1948 treaty, known as the Pact of Bogota, under which most countries of South and North America agreed to settle disputes through peaceful means, conferring jurisdiction on the ICJ.

Bogota says it is no longer party to this, and insists territorial and maritime borders should be established through treaties.

Last week, in a hearing relating to the first case, Managua had argued Bogota failed to comply with a 2012 order handing it vast swathes of the Caribbean.

The November 2012 ruling established a new maritime boundary between Nicaragua and Colombia giving Managua several thousand square kilometres (miles) of territory in the Caribbean that previously belonged to Colombia.

The court however also recognised Colombia's sovereignty over a number of islands claimed by Nicaragua and which are now sea-locked by the newly-awarded Nicaraguan territorial waters.

© 2015 AFP

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