Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has warned his Central American nation may respond militarily if Colombia authorizes oil concessions in disputed territory in the Caribbean sea.
The president announced that the Nicaraguan army “is ready to defend its sovereignty threatened by the expansionist politics that Colombia has had.” He also said that the two countries remain at loggerheads over the Colombia-Nicaragua border limits in the Caribbean.
Ortega’s statement follows a prolonged legal battle between the neighboring countries relating to the disputed maritime border. After a claim by the Nicaraguan government made in 2001, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) declared a 1928 treaty relating to the border between the 2 nations to be partially invalid.
The ICJ agreed with Colombian arguments that disputes relating to the Islands of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina were not part of the Court’s jurisdiction. However, in its preliminary judgement of December 13, 2007, it ruled that the rest of the border delineated by the treaty was yet to be assigned under maritime law.
According to the Colombia television network Caracol TV, the Nicaraguan president also said on Saturday that the recent conflict between Venezuela and Colombia was provoked by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.
Ortega said that the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez broke relations with Colombia “not for war, but for peace” and expressed confidence that Colombian President-elect Juan Manuel Santos, who assumes office on August 7, will avoid any conflict.
“But meanwhile, until August 7, God wills that President Uribe does not think of any other insanity that threatens the security and peace not only between two brother nations, but peace in the entire Latin American and Caribbean region,” said Ortega.
He also said that Uribe had shown his “impotence” by failing to wipe out the guerrilla presence in Colombia, and added that he had repeatedly warned his Colombian counterpart that a military solution would not resolve the guerrilla conflict in his country.