Peru and Chile border dispute over sea intensifies

30 November 2005

Diplomatic tensions between Peru and Chile increased when the Peruvian Congress unanimously approved a bill that will grant Peru 38,000 sq km of fishing waters that are also claimed by Chile.

Chile currently controls the area and claims that the new law, signed by Toledo, violates treaties from the 1950's. It has launched a diplomatic campaign against the change in legislation.

Peruvian officials argue that the new sea border is legitimate - using a technical formula established by the UN convention on the Law of Sea - to bring it into line with the land borders. The current border cuts west horizontally across the Pacific; the new border would follow the land border and cut diagonally, allowing Peru to reclaim the disputed fishing waters.
At a time when relations between Peru and Chile are being tested by a request to extradite Fujimori from Chile, Chilean President Ricardo Lagos said Santiago "will continue to exercise full sovereignty" over the area.

This is not the first time they have clashed over sea borders. Between 1879 to 1883 in the War of the Pacific Chile took Bolivia's access to the sea and extensive waters from Peru.

 

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