Humala Heads to Congress to Explain Border Ruling

President Ollanta Humala was in Congress Friday to speak briefly on an international court ruling this week that set a new maritime border with Chile.

Humala had already addressed the issue immediately after the International Court of Justice ruled on the border on Monday, Jan.27.   He later that day received Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko —visiting Peru to commemorate 140 years since the first Japanese migration to Peru— before flying to Cuba the following day to participate in the Celac summit of Latin American and Caribbean states.

Chile-Peru - Hito 1 and Punto ConcordiaIn Havana, Humala met with President Sebastian Piñera of Chile and incoming president, Michelle Bachelet. The officials agreed that work on implementing the ruling would begin now but that the process would be gradual.

Upon his return to Peru, Humala reiterated in Congress that the ruling will be implemented “one way or another.”

Humala also rejected that Peru will have to comply with any conditions in order to execute the judgment.

Humala additionally addressed an unintended dispute that has arisen from the ICJ’s decision: the ownership of a 3.7-hectare sliver of land on the border. Some Chilean officials argue that that triangle of land is now Chilean, based on the fact that the ICJ ruling on the maritime border begins at the landmark Hito 1 and not at Punto Concordia, further south, which was established as the land frontier line between both countries in the treaty signed in 1929.

Peru, on the other hand, says there is nothing to discuss as any contention over the land border was closed with the 1929 treaty.   Peru’s border disputes with Chile are rooted in the 19th century War of the Pacific, when Chile won large amounts of territory from Peru and Bolivia.  Despite a final land border treaty signed in 1929, and witnessed by the United States, arguments over the border have flared up frequently over the past 80 years.  Early in 2012, floods in northern Chile brought land mines to the surface on the border, and these were removed by the end of that year by both countries and Norwegian People’s Aid.

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