By Roberto Calzadilla,
Ambassador of the Plurinational State of Bolivia.
The pacifist vocation of the Latin American States shows today a great attachment and respect for International Law and the use of mechanisms for the peaceful settlement of disputes as the best means to achieve peace and international security. Several states in Latin American have chosen to solve their disputes by peaceful means such as the judicial proceedings before the International Court of Justice, under the American Treaty on Pacific Settlement known as the “Pact of Bogotá”.
The Bogotá Pact signed on April 30, 1948, represents for Bolivia the culmination of efforts made for several years by the American States to achieve an independent peaceful regional dispute resolution system. Signatories and member Stats of the Pact of Bogota reaffirmed their commitment in regard to international disputes, to the double obligation that the problem holds; refrain from the threat or the use of force or from any other means of coercion for the settlement of their controversies, and to have recourse at all times to pacific procedures, such as the judicial settlement.
The 11 Resolutions of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) on the Bolivia’s maritime problem approved between 1979 and 1989, urged, inter alia, in underscoring the continuing hemispheric interest, the parties to enter into negotiations in order to find an equitable solution whereby Bolivia should obtain appropriate sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean taking into account mutual conveniences and the rights and interests of all parties involved.
Taking in to consideration the spirit and object of the Pact of Bogotá and the OAS resolutions, and fundamentally the non compliance of Chile to negotiate a sovereign access to the sea for Bolivia, the Plurinational State of Bolivia on April 24, 2013, instituted proceedings against the Republic of Chile, at the International Court of Justice, with regard to the dispute concerning the obligation of Chile to negotiate the sovereign access of Bolivia to the Pacific Ocean, controversy which affects deeply and seriously the relations of both countries and the hemispheric integration.
This action undertaken by Bolivia should not be regarded as an unfriendly act against the Republic of Chile, as determined by the Resolution 37/10 of November 15, 1982, of the UN General Assembly, known as “Manila Declaration on the Settlement Pacific International Disputes” which states that “recourse to judicial settlement of legal disputes, particularly referral to the International Court of Justice, should not be considered an unfriendly act between States”. Bolivia has confirmed its commitment to the principles contained in Article 3 of the Charter of the OAS, particularly to the provisions, which states; “Controversies of an international character arising between two or more American States shall be settled by peaceful procedures”.
Nowadays only Bolivia and Chile are the States in Latinamerica who don’t maintain diplomatic relations. Solving peacefully this interstate dispute with Chile at the International Court of Justice, the Plurinational State of Bolivia looks forward to achieve in the near future a lasting peace and friendship in a spirit of good neighbourhood, to achieve a true Latin-American integration.