Chile and Peru Minimize Border Conflict and Bet on the Economy

By Dialogo
January 21, 2011

bueno yo quiero decirles, que es mejor estar en paz y armonia , por que somos como hermanos para estar en una discordia . yo les felicito como tomaron el problema, pensando en las personas que nos rodean y es bueno lo que hacen eso .....
Chilean President Sebastián Piñera and his Peruvian counterpart Alan García reaffirmed on Tuesday that they are opting to leave to one side the border lawsuit in which they are opponents at the International Court of Justice in The Hague and to bet on economic integration between the two countries.

In 2008, Peru filed a suit in The Hague claiming a presence in an area of around 95,000 km2 in the Pacific Ocean controlled by Chile on the basis of agreements made in 1952 and 1954.

Chile considers those agreements to be border treaties, while for Peru they only regulate fishing activities.

Unlike the position taken by the previous Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet, who froze relations between the two countries as a result of the suit, Piñera has opted to strengthen the bilateral relationship with Peru, focusing it above all on increasing and accelerating economic growth.

“2010 was the year with the highest volume of commercial exchange in Chilean and Peruvian history, reaching a figure of nearly three billion dollars, almost 50% more than the figures we had achieved in previous years,” the president said.

“Chile has become Peru’s third-largest trading partner, after the U.S. and China, and Peru’s chief trading partner in Latin America. Exchanges of investment have continued increasing, and in both directions,” he added at a press conference.

According to the Chilean president, the option of “ignoring” Peru following the suit is a “mistaken path,” because “it would have made us lose a lot of time in moving forward on issues that interest us” and because “it would have made it more difficult for us to absorb the day that the Court rules on this dispute.”

For Alan García, who was on his third trip to Santiago this year and who openly displays his good relationship with Piñera, “a neighboring country that is growing is a country that can make more investments in its neighbor and can buy many more products from its neighbor, if they have a policy of integration.”

“The geopolitics of envy and of destroying one’s neighbor in order to grow is a suicidal, absurd, and clumsy policy,” added García, who urged Peru’s next president – he is leaving office in July – to maintain the same level of relations with Chile.

Piñera and García stressed projects of energy integration, business cooperation, free movement of individuals and the flow of workers, customs management, and discussion of joint policies on fishing quotas as possible measures to be implemented in the future.

Piñera also highlighted the project of integrating the Pacific Rim countries with those of Asia. “The four biggest powers in the world, the U.S., China, Japan, and India, are going to be and already are in the Pacific,” the president asserted. Between Peru and Chile, “we have thousands of kilometers that connect us to the Pacific, which is the world of the future,” he added.

Sectors of the opposition and even sectors within his own party have criticized Piñera’s approach. According to the president of the Senate, opposition member Jorge Pizarro, “Chile cannot have fully normal relations with Peru to the extent that we are being put on trial in The Hague.”

According to Pizarro, “we can come to an understanding on the other things, we can seek the necessary agreements,” but the lawsuit “is an unfriendly act.”

During the meeting between the two presidents, agreements were signed to establish an integrated vigilance system intended to enable speedier bureaucratic procedures at border crossings, as well as a memorandum of cooperation on the educational level to prevent drug use.

García will meet with representatives of the Chilean Congress on Wednesday and with the judicial community on Thursday.

In addition to a volume of commercial exchange that has multiplied tenfold in the last decade and rose to over 3 billion dollars last year, Chile has investments in Peru worth more than 7.2 billion dollars, while Lima’s investments in Santiago approach 1 billion dollars.




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