News Latin America Petro announces negotiations with Nicaragua to seek an agreement on fishing rights

Petro announces negotiations with Nicaragua to seek an agreement on fishing rights

Petro announces negotiations with Nicaragua to seek an agreement on fishing rights

The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, has announced this Thursday negotiations with the Nicaraguan side to seek an agreement on fishing rights in the Caribbean, after the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the dispute between them over the continental shelf on Colombian territory.

“We will request a dialogue with Nicaragua to negotiate the conditions of the right to fish for the Raizal people of the Caribbean. We will speak with (Daniel) Ortega and with his government about these new rulings of the Court,” he declared in a speech on Colombia’s Independence Day.

“We can make it prevail that the peoples of the Caribbean, the native peoples in this southwest of the sea can have the right to fish without being disturbed, they can have the right to their ancestral subsistence, they can communicate with each other without barriers,” he asserted.

The day before, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega publicly asked his Colombian counterpart to sign a sea border agreement, which should establish “that Nicaragua already owns and exercises sovereignty over some 75,000 square kilometers of sea that the ICJ granted it in November 2012.”

“If the Court has already ruled in their favor (Colombia) and the Court has already ruled in our favor (Nicaragua, in 2012), we already have the way out to find a way to translate this (sentences) into an agreement, decree,” said Ortega.

These statements have taken place days after the ICJ ruled in favor of Colombia, rejecting Managua’s proposal that requested an extension of the country’s continental shelf over Colombian territory. Nicaragua claimed rights over the sea bed and subsoil beyond the 200 nautical miles established by International Law.

The same court issued a ruling in 2012 by which it recognized Colombian sovereignty over the archipelago of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina, but at the same time extended the extension of Nicaragua’s territorial waters to 200 nautical miles at all border points in the Caribbean. Colombia refused to abide by the sentence and even denounced the Pact of Bogota -by which it recognizes the jurisdiction of the ICJ- and, in response, Nicaragua once again sued its neighbor for preventing it from enjoying its new rights in those waters and for extending its continental shelf.

Referring to the 2012 sentence, Petro has indicated that it was a failure of the governments of that time, since Bogota did not demonstrate “that the inhabitants of the San Andres and Providencia archipelago, particularly the Raizales” could enjoy fishing rights. “What it was about was demonstrating the existence of a people with a cultural identity,” she remarked.

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