Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega alleged Tuesday that Colombia has been granting exploration permits to oil companies on Nicaraguan territory.
Ortega was referring to disputed waters located in the Caribbean Sea along the maritime border between the two countries. The Colombian government sold these permits, which allow probing for crude oil, to multinationals – a move which Colombian Mines and Energy Minister, Hernan Martinez announced on June 22.
The Nicaraguan head of state’s accusations follow a prolonged legal battle between the neighboring countries relating to the maritime border. After a claim by the Nicaraguan government, 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.
Ortega claims that, in giving away permits in these contested waters, Colombia is ignoring The Hague’s decision. He labelled Bogota’s actions as part of “an expansionist policy”, according to the Colombian daily El Espectador. The Sandinista president announced that his legal team was preparing its submissions for a new challenge before the ICJ.