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Nicaragua Exerts Sovereignty in Maritime Areas Demarcated by International Court

By Dialogo
November 28, 2012

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega announced that his country has started to “exert sovereignty” in the maritime area demarcated by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and demanded Colombian Navy patrol ships to leave the area.

National Navy ships deployed on November 25 at midnight to reclaim the areas and “from that moment, sovereignty has been exerted in that maritime area,” stated Ortega in a broadcasted address on radio and television on November 26.

The ICJ ruling, which was announced on November 19, set new maritime borders between Nicaragua and Colombia, granting Nicaragua an area of 90,000 square kilometers on the east, which was previously under Colombian control.

The head of state indicated that the country is ready to proceed in a “non traumatic” way a week after the ICJ ruling.
“We are ready for Colombian patrol ships to withdraw from the area, as President (Juan Manuel) Santos ordered,” said Ortega.

The Nicaraguan president also stated that the agreements Colombia had with other countries, such as the United States, Honduras, and Jamaica for patrolling and countering drug trafficking and organized crime in the area “must be modified, because these waters are now part of Nicaraguan territory.”

For their part, the Colombian government announced that a group of experts have been assigned to evaluate potential legal actions against the ICJ ruling, a decision rejected by Bogotá, said the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.

Likewise, Santos confirmed that experts will also evaluate the tentative withdrawal of Colombia from the Pact of Bogotá, signed in 1948, by which the South American nation accepts the ICJ authority.

The ICJ resolved a dispute between Bogotá and Managua over the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina by determining that all isles, islets and keys belong to Colombia, while demarcating new maritime borders, hence extending Nicaragua’s sovereignty in the Caribbean Sea, in an unappealable judgement.