“Time is the best medicine,” said Nicaragua’s foreign minister on Thursday in response to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos‘ continued rejection of an international court decision to shift Colombia’s boundary lines in the Caribbean Sea.
In November 2012, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague ruled that Colombia must cede 30,000 square miles of territorial waters to Nicaragua. After his re-election last week, President Santos re-affirmed his rejection of the ruling, according to reports by El Espectador.
Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Samuel Santos proposed on Thursday that Colombia “take some time” to accept the ICJ ruling, suggesting that perhaps the newly elected president spoke too soon in the heat of election fever.
“In this type of situation it is better not to speak, it is healthiest is to say nothing,” the minister told reporters.
Although Colombia was granted sovereignty over several islands, Nicaragua was the beneficiary of the 2012 shift in boundary lines between the two countries, which effectively doubles its economic zone in the Caribbean Sea.
In protest, Colombia withdrew from the 1948 Pact of Bogota (or the American Treaty on Pacific Settlement), which obliges all signatory nations to abide by the ICJ’s rulings.
In May, the Colombian Constitutional Court ruled that the ICJ decision “could not take effect without a treaty between the countries,” according to international newswire Reuters.
According to Nicaraguan national newspaper La Jornada, the government of Nicaragua claims that it has exercised military control over the disputed area since the ruling in 2012, although the Colombian military has registered no disturbances.
In November of last year, President Santos accused the Russians of flying two bombers over Colombian airspace in the Caribbean without permission.
The Russian government denied that its bombers had violated Colombia’s airspace and instead claimed that they were flying over international waters en route to Nicaragua.