Chile Willing to Negotiate Sea Outlet with Bolivia

By Dialogo
December 11, 2012

The Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alfredo Moreno, confirmed on December 9 that Chile is willing to negotiate with Bolivia its petition for a sea outlet, although he warned that the talks will have to abide by the Treaty of 1904, which put an end to the war that confronted both South American countries by late nineteenth century.

“We believe that the right way is to talk; we have stated that since the beginning,” the Minister said on December 9 in an interview with Chilean National Television.

However, Chile is not willing to alter the treaty that ended the war confronting the Chilean nation with Peru and Bolivia between 1879 and 1883, by which Lima and La Paz lost territory, and Bolivia lost its sea outlet to the Pacific Ocean.

“We have a treaty since 1904 that determines the boundaries of Bolivia and Chile today. Said treaty is not negotiable, so we must carry out a revision of what is Chile today,” declared Moreno.

“We can do things in a joint way, and this is something we had been doing until, for some reason, President Evo Morales gave his speech on March 23,” he added.

In March 2011, Morales had announced that his country will take Santiago de Chile to an international court – probably The Hague – to deal with the historical dispute, and he said on December 5 that the procedure “is very much developed, almost done.”

Meanwhile, the Chilean official insisted that “Chile is completely available to work with Bolivia in matters of common interest.”

“In all these subjects, we can move forward, and we can benefit from several things. But it depends on the Bolivian government,” Moreno added.

Chile and Bolivia broke their diplomatic relations in 1978 due to differences in the negotiation to grant a sea outlet to Bolivia, which has been able to benefit from using some Chilean ports, but without obtaining its sovereignty, as they expected.