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  HOME | Chile

Chile Derides Bolivian Stance on Border River

SANTIAGO – Bolivia is seeking to repeal the law of gravity with its claims about the course of a river the two countries share, Chile’s foreign minister said Wednesday.

“There is one law the Bolivian government cannot change: the law of gravity. The natural gradient of the topography makes the waters (of the Silala River) flow in the direction of Chile and it has been that way for thousands of years,” Heraldo Muñoz told a press conference in Santiago.

He was joined in front of reporters by Ximena Fuentes, Chile’s official agent in the legal battle with Bolivia over the Silala at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Santiago filed a motion with the ICJ last May asking that the Silala be declared a international river and authorizing Chilean use of its waters.

Bolivia, however, maintains that the Silala is more a complex of springs than an actual river. La Paz says the flow of water was artificially diverted toward Chile more than 100 years ago.

Muñoz said Wednesday that a team of top-flight geologists and geographers who spent months studying the terrain concluded that the Silala flows across land sloping downward at 4.6 degrees.

“We believe that the science and the geography are on our side,” the foreign minister said.

The Chilean government is due to make its presentation to the ICJ in June.

 

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