Peru’s former foreign minister suggests non-aggression pact with Chile

Former Peruvian Foreign Minister Manuel Rodríguez Cuadros proposed Friday that Peru seek a non-aggression pact with Chile in the face an alarming spike in that country’s arms purchases and tensions over the two nations’ disputed maritime border.

“A treaty of this kind would give all of use peace and tranquility and it would be the best contribution to a stable, friendly and comprehensive bilateral relationship, the true guarantee of a 21st century relationship,” Rodríguez told Radioprogramas radio.

Rodríguez, who served under ex-President Alejandro Toledo’s 2001-2006 administration, made his suggestion as a group of Chilean lawmakers plied the disputed waters in a naval barge to “inspect” the fishing-rich sea that Chile currently controls, and which Peru claims as its own.

Peru contends that the maritime zone was never delimited and started proceedings in January in the International Court of Justice, ICJ, in The Hague, infuriating Chile, which says the current border was established under two agreements signed in the 1950s.

Citing reports published by the Stockholm Institute of Strategic Studies, Rodríguez said that between 2003 and 2007, Chile has purchased weapons totaling $2.3 billion. Despite deep economic ties and business investment between the two nations, Rodriguez contended that Chile is preparing for war.

“It ranked first in Latin America for military purchases and the second in the world during that time period,” he said. “The type of arms it is acquiring, like F16s and frigates, given the geographic characteristics of the theaters of operations, shows they are thinking hypothetically about a conflict with Peru, before one with Argentina.”

Peru has also upped its military spending, increasing its military budget by 53 percent in 2008, with a large percentage of it intended to upgrade equipment and reinforce the country’s borders. The military’s budget was increases from about 1.7 billion soles, about $585 million, in 2007, to more than 2.7 billion soles, about $930 million, this year.

Peru and Chile are scheduled to submit their respective legal arguments to The Hague Court in March 2009 and March 2010 respectively, and the trial is estimated to drag on for five to six years before a decision is reached.

Sharing is caring!

Comments are closed.