Chile Will Grant Facilities to Bolivia at Northern Port of Iquique

By Dialogo
July 16, 2010

Bolivia and Chile agreed in La Paz, at a meeting of deputy foreign ministers, to expand the northern Chilean port of Iquique in order to facilitate Bolivian exports, in addition to continuing to discuss Bolivia’s century-old ambition for a route to the sea.

“With regard to Iquique, agreement was reached on an expansion of the port area, as well as on the facilities to be provided in the area outside the port,” the Bolivian deputy foreign minister, Mónica Soriano, affirmed following the meeting with her Chilean counterpart, Fernando Schmidth, which began Monday.

Soriano explained that commissions from the two countries “will shortly go on to define the operational aspects for the provision of facilities at the port of Iquique and the immediate signing of the diplomatic notes to be exchanged.”

Schmidth noted for his part that “it was agreed to provide facilities at the port of Iquique for the free-transit regime” in favor of Bolivia, “in which it will join the ports of Arica and Antofagasta.”

With regard to Bolivia’s century-old maritime claim, Soriano said, “We have agreed to address the issue through concrete, feasible, and useful proposals, and this will take place at the next meeting of the consultation mechanism and at subsequent meetings.”

Bolivia had sought the establishment at this meeting in La Paz of a “road map” by Chile to address its ambition to have a sovereign route to the Pacific Ocean, something it lost in a war at the end of the nineteenth century.

The two countries are engaged in dialogue on a thirteen-point agenda, agreed in 2006, even though they have been without diplomatic relations since 1978.
The next deputy foreign ministers’ meeting will be in Santiago in November.