Peru will not be an obstacle for a Chilean-Bolivian maritime solution

(LIP-wb) — Peru’s Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde said on Friday that Peru “will not be an obstacle” in finding a solution for a more than a century old maritime dispute between Chile and Bolivia.

Bolivia lost its access to the Pacific Ocean after the War of the Pacific (1879-1884) and is land-locked ever since.

Belaunde also said that Peru will not participate in negotiations between Santiago and La Paz, although he hopes being consulted “if a solution consists of returning territory to Bolivia that was once Peruvian”.

“Peru will not be an obstacle for a solution to that problem, if that solution respects the Tacna-Arica compromise”, Belaunde said during a quick visit in La Paz.

Bolivia and Chile are the only countries in Latin America that have been lacking diplomatic ties for almost three decades because of the ongoing dispute since the war.

Bolivia lost 120,000 km2 of territory and 400 km of Pacific coast line to Chile after the military confrontation and today seeks a 20 km wide area in Northern Chile to retain its sea access, an area that once belonged to Peru before the war.

Garcia Belaunde repeated the old Peruvian stand that the dispute is a bilateral question between Chile and Bolivia.

Belaunde’s visit to La Paz included a meeting with Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca in which they discussed ways to increase commercial cooperation within the Community of Andean Nations (CAN). The visit concluded with the signing of an Economic Integration and Social Cooperation Treaty between both countries.