Bolivia and Chile define bilateral agenda including border question

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Bolivia and Chile defined a 12-point bilateral agenda that includes the thorny subject of returning Bolivia’s access to the Pacific ocean and the controversy of the Silala spring waters.

The agenda was presented by the Bolivian Chancellery in an official press release after the two-day meeting between the vice chancellors Mauricio Dorfler (Bolivia) and Alberto Van Klaveren (Chile) concluded.

The new bilateral agenda marks a new stage in the two countries relations; a "positive approach and effective measures of mutual confidence”, according to the press note.

Also included on the agenda are areas such as free transit, economic complementation, border integration, the water resources of the Silala spring and the fight against drug trafficking.

The fourth topic on the agenda is probably the most controversial and trickiest that has distanced La Paz and Santiago for decades. The relations between Bolivia and Chile are complex as a result of the War of the Pacific (1879-1883), in which Chile defeated allied Peruvian and Bolivian troops and led to the current definition of borders. Since then Bolivia has lost its sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean. Both nations do not maintain official relations since 1978.

Van Klaveren maintained that “the government of Chile is interested in developing the best possible relations with Bolivia”.

Dorfler, on the other hand, considered that for Bolivia it is important to conclude “this common agenda without exclusions, a work program in which all relevant subjects are built-in benefiting both countries”.

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