Colombia withdraws from world−court pact

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 29, 2012 04:30 hrs

Bogota, Nov 29 (IANS/EFE) President Juan Manuel Santos said Wednesday that Colombia has pulled out of a pact recognizing the International Court of Justice's jurisdiction over its territorial disputes, a step taken in the wake of this month's world−court decision setting new maritime borders with Nicaragua.

"Colombia withdrew from the (1948) Pact of Bogota (Tuesday). The corresponding notice was given to the secretary−general of the Organization of American States," Santos said.

This decision adheres to the basic principle that "territorial and maritime borders are set through (bilateral) treaties, as has been the legal tradition in Colombia", Santos said.

The Hague−based ICJ ruled Nov 19 that seven Caribbean islets belong to Colombia, ending a three−decade−long dispute between the Andean nation and Nicaragua.

The world court had earlier confirmed Bogota's claim to the larger islands of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina, part of an archipelago that lies 775 km from mainland Colombia and 220 km from the coast of Nicaragua.

While giving the islets to Colombia, the decision also significantly expanded the waters under Nicaraguan control.

The waters conceded to Nicaragua include lucrative fishing grounds and are what are thought to be substantial oil deposits.

"It was a decision contrary to equity and detrimental to Colombians," Santos said. The president has defended the rights of the inhabitants of the San Andres archipelago, which is surrounded by those waters, to continue fishing in such a resource−rich area.

The territorial dispute dates from 1980, when Nicaragua contended the 1928−30 accords awarding sovereignty over the San Andres archipelago to Colombia were invalid because the Central American nation was under US military occupation during the negotiations.



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