Costa Rica Responds to Accusations by Head of Nicaraguan Army

By Dialogo
October 24, 2011

Costa Rica denied that it plans to detain Nicaraguan young people who frequent a border area in dispute between the two countries, as the head of the Nicaraguan Army, Julio Avilés, affirmed.

“The Costa Rican Government denies the statements (…) by Avilés about a supposed Costa Rican plan to arrest Nicaraguan young people who periodically stay on Portillos Island,” the foreign ministry in San José declared in a statement.

“Any affirmation to the effect that the Costa Rican Government aims to create a fait accompli to Nicaragua’s detriment in order to obtain an advantage in the international lawsuit being heard at the International Court of Justice is unfounded, fictitious, and baseless,” it added.

Avilés declared on October 18 that Costa Rica aims to detain “environmentalist young people” who care for the environment along the San Juan River (on the border), in order to stage a supposed Nicaraguan incursion into Costa Rican territory.

They want “to seize them and make it appear that they made an incursion into Costa Rican territory,” Avilés affirmed, saying that this would be a “serious provocation.”

Separately, the Nuevo Diario newspaper in Managua, citing “high-level” diplomatic sources, affirmed that Costa Rica has violated Nicaraguan territory by means of aerial incursions in that sector at least 48 times.

Nicaraguan Army spokesperson Colonel Juan Morales confirmed to Nuevo Diario the existence of what he defined as “incursions,” but he did not specify numbers.

For its part, the Costa Rican foreign ministry neither confirmed nor denied the reports of these aerial incursions in its statement.

Preliminary injunctions by the International Court of Justice prohibit both countries from having a civilian or military presence on Calero (or Portillo) Island, a miniscule island located at the mouth of the San Juan River, where it enters the Caribbean, which has motivated the worst diplomatic crisis between the two nations.



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