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Peru passes sea border law

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Peru’s Congress passed a law on Thursday to redraw its sea border with Chile and negotiate better access to rich Pacific fishing waters, deepening the latest diplomatic dispute between the two Andean nations. Lawmakers voted 98-0 in favour of the bill. They say it will lay the groundwork for Peru to negotiate a new sea border, either with Chile or via a United Nations-backed court. Peru’s President Alejandro Toledo immediately signed the bill into law before leaving for this week’s Americas-wide summit in Argentina, a government spokesman said. "We’re going to insist and insist until this is resolved because Peru has no maritime treaty with Chile to abide by," Peruvian lawmaker Luis Iberico told Congress. The current border, set in the 1950s, is a horizontal line that starts close to the edge of the two countries and cuts due west across the ocean. Peru’s proposed border is a south western sloping line that follows the two countries’ diagonal border into the Pacific Ocean. In an issue that has fanned nationalist sentiment among ordinary Peruvians, Peru says the 1950s pacts were nonbinding and rob the country of 14,630 sq miles (37,900 sq km) of rich fishing waters. Peru and Chile are the world’s top producers of fishmeal, a cattle feed, and fishing is one of the engines of Peru’s $75 billion economy. Chile has called Peru’s plan illegal, angering Peruvian legislators still stinging from a 19th century war in which Peru lost a chunk of mineral-rich territory to Chile. "We should not overreact to this vote, because it is the autonomous decision of a Congress and a government and we must understand it as such," said Sergio Romero, the president of the Chilean Senate. The government also responded to the new Peruvian law, saying Chile would maintain "peaceful" relations with Peru, but that it would continue to exercise its rights in areas that are in its "sovereignty" and "jurisdiction." Chilean President Ricardo Lagos has ruled out discussing the sea border with Toledo at the summit in Argentina, but foreign ministers from the two countries may meet there.
Source: Reuters

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Originally from Denmark, Carsten returned to Peru in 2002 with his wife and eldest son. He started LivinginPeru.com in 2005, among other ventures in Peru. Before this, Carsten has worked in tourism, living in France, Sicily, and the U.S., and promoted bands like Metallica, Def Leppard and U2 for PolyGram Records (now Universal Music). Carsten loves pisco sours, Peru’s cuisine, and traveling with his family within Peru, a country that he believes is the land of opportunities.