Nicaragua proposes to Colombia on Thursday that they work together to create a designated zone for the indigenous people of San Andres, in order to resolve their maritime border dispute over the Caribbean island.
“I propose to the Colombian government, [Colombian] President [Juan Manuel] Santos…that we organize these commissions that will work to identify which areas, by historical right, the [indigenous] Raizal people [of San Andres] may fish in with a permanent lease,” said Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on Thursday.
Colombia’s continued questioning of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling, which ceded maritime territory from Colombia to Nicaragua, had made it unclear for the fisherman of San Andres as to which country they needed to ask for permits. Ortega reportedly proposed that in order to alleviate this, the two governments needed to pursue a solution with some urgency.
Ortega also ruminated on the possibility of establishing a consular office on San Andres to better assist the island’s indigenous fishermen.
The Nicaraguan President reiterated that he has no intention of denying the indigenous fishermen of San Andres their cultural and historical right to fish, but specified that they must apply for Nicaraguan permits.
The maritime dispute between the two countries has been ongoing since November of 2012, when the ICJ granted 30,000 square miles of Colombian maritime territory to Nicaragua. In response to the ruling, Colombia withdrew from the Bogota Pact, an agreement which had bound Colombia to United nations and ICJ decisions.