BERLIN – Chile’s President Sebastian Piñera branded on Wednesday Bolivia’s claim to a stretch of Chilean territory that would allow it maritime access to the Pacific Ocean as absurd and urged his Bolivian counterpart to respect a recent ruling from The Hague relieving Santiago from any obligation to negotiate the diplomatic spat.
Piñera rebuked Bolivian President Evo Morales during a press conference in Berlin, where he had traveled to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“This president will always strongly defend the sea and Chilean territory,” he insisted.
“All of Bolivia’s claims were rejected one by one and I think it is important for Bolivia to recognized the significance of this,” he added.
Morales has said that he would continue to campaign for access to the Pacific despite the International Court of Justice’s ruling.
Piñera said he would, however, discuss other shared interests with Morales, such as economic development, security and the fight against drug trafficking.
Bolivia handed over its Pacific coast to Chile as part of the 1904 treaty following the War of the Pacific (1879-84).
On Oct. 1, judges at the ICJ voted 12-3 against Chile having to negotiate the territorial claim with Bolivia.