LA PAZ – Bolivians feel “very proud” of the presentation their legal team made Wednesday before the International Court of Justice in La Paz’s suit against Chile to recover the stretch of Pacific coast Bolivia lost in a 19th-century war, President Evo Morales said.
“I am very happy and moved, I am very proud, we are all proud of our team and their excellent presentation,” he told reporters at his office.
The president spoke after Bolivia’s attorneys delivered oral arguments at the second hearing convened in The Hague by the ICJ to discuss Chile’s motion that the court declare itself incompetent to rule on the Bolivian suit.
Morales and his ministers gathered in the wee hours of Wednesday to follow the proceedings live via television.
“I just want to say that the Bolivian people and the whole world await with confidence and hope a wise decision from the International Court of Justice,” the president said.
Bolivia has the right, grounded both in history and in justice, to seek a peaceful resolution to its dispute with Chile, Morales said, adding that he senses international support for La Paz on this issue.
La Paz brought Chile before the ICJ in 2013, asking the court to instruct Santiago to negotiate “in good faith” on the restitution of Bolivian sovereign access to the sea.
The Andean nation has been landlocked since the 1879-1884 War of the Pacific, which ended with Bolivia’s 400 kilometers (250 miles) of coastline under Chilean control.
Chile made its presentation on Monday, questioning the ICJ’s jurisdiction over the dispute and insisting that two countries definitively settled the boundary question in a 1904 treaty.