Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos announced Saturday his country will seek a dialogue with Nicaragua over the two countries’ maritime border after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) granted Nicaragua a chunk of Colombian territory in the Caribbean.
On his Twitter account, Santos said he will ask Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin to contact the Nicaraguan government “to handle this dilemma prudently and respectfully.”
Le pediré a la canciller que entre en contacto directo con el gobierno de Nicaragua para manejar esta encrucijada con prudencia y respeto.
— Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) November 24, 2012
Monday’s ICJ ruling has caused concern on the Colombian island of San Andres which has lost most of its maritime territory west of the island, affecting the local fishing industry.
“We lost 45% of our fishing territory,” Governor Aury Guerrero told Colombia Reports. “We are concerned … because [our] fishing industry [may] disappear.”
Though fishing represents just 4% of San Andres’ economy, the fact that the Colombian archipelago is now almost completely surrounded by Nicaraguan waters has made San Andresanos “very anxious,” according to Guerrero.
Also on the Colombian mainland, the ICJ decision has generated protests. On social media and with the support of opposition movements, Colombians have been calling to march on Sunday to protest the court’s decision and force the government not to accept the ICJ ruling and maintain its claim on its maritime territory.
Members states of the ICJ, the United Nations’ judicial body that rules over border disputes, agree to respect the court’s rulings, but face no penalties if they decide to ignore them.