Humala Holds Meetings with National Security Council and Business Leaders

Business Leaders-2014President Ollanta Humala met with his National Security Council Monday, and with private business leaders on Tuesday, days before an international court is to rule on a maritime border dispute with Chile.

Humala’s meeting with the council follows a number of other meetings with political groups, former presidents, and local and international media to discuss the upcoming ruling.   The meeting with the National Security Council included members of President Humala’s cabinet, including Premier Cesar Villanueva, Foreign Affairs Minister Eda Rivas, Defense Minister Pedro Cateriano, Interior Minister Walter Alban, Finance Minister Luis Miguel Castilla and Justice Minister Daniel Figallo.

It also included the Commander General of the Navy, Admiral Carlos Tejada, the Commander General of the Air Force, General Jaime Figueroa, the Commander General of the Army, General Ricardo Moncada, and the head of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces, General Leonel Cabrera.    The head of Peru’s National Police, General Jorge Flores, and the chief of the police’s intelligence unit, Victor Gomez, also participated in the meeting, according to daily Peru.21.

The following day President Humala invited key members of Lima’s private business community to discuss the ruling, including Alfonso Garcia-Miró of the private business federation Confiep,  banker and former deputy finance minister Maria Jesus Hume,  Samuel Gleiser of the Lima Chamber of Commerce, and former Premier Beatriz Merino, formerly head of the private pension funds association and currently director of the Social Responsibility and Sustainability Center at the Catholic University’s Centrum Business School.

Chile Peru mapIn Chile, President Sebastian Piñera also recently met with his National Security Council to discuss the border dispute.

While the ruling could create some diplomatic tensions between Peru and Chile, it is unlikely to result in more serious consequences. Chile has a number of investments in Peru, while both countries are politically aligned in the Pacific Alliance, which also includes Mexico and Colombia.

Both President Piñera and President Humala have said that their governments would support the court’s decision.

Peru filed a lawsuit against Chile in January 2008 at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The dispute is over some 38,000 square kilometers of fishing-rich waters in the Pacific Ocean that Chile currently controls. Another 28,000 square kilometers of Ocean is also under dispute. Peru claims that area, however Chile says it should stay under international jurisdiction.

Chile says the borders were established under treaties signed in the 1950s, however Peru claims that those were just related to fishing rights. Both Peru and Chile are major fishmeal producers thanks to an abundant stock of anchovy in the waters off their coasts.

The dispute dates back to the 19th-Century War of the Pacific, in which both Peru and Bolivia lost large swaths of territory to Chile.

President Humala said Tuesday that the issue has created unity in Peru, but asked politicians and analysts to refrain from speculating on the court’s ruling. “No one knows the ruling, except for the judges at The Hague, so it is best to just wait for the ruling,” Humala said.

The International Court of Justice will deliver its ruling on Monday, Jan. 27.

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