Bolivia stresses that the ICJ ruling will allow it to dismantle artificial canals of the Silala River

The President of Bolivia, Luis Arce – PRESIDENCIA DE BOLIVIA

The President of Bolivia, Luis Arce, has emphasized that the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the Silala River will allow the dismantling of Chilean artificial canals.

“The International Court of Justice ratifies our rights over the waters of the Silala and our sovereignty over the dismantling of the artificial canals,” said Arce.

The Bolivian president has celebrated that “the controversy with a brotherly people has been resolved thanks to the work” of scientific studies and bilateral relations. “We will continue this work for the benefit of the peoples”, he concluded through his profile on the social network Twitter.

For his part, the president of the Senate of the Latin American country, Andrónico Rodríguez, explained that, after Chile’s recognition that it artificially channeled the waters, “Bolivia has the sovereign decision to maintain or dismantle the canals.

Thus, Rodriguez pointed out that in order for his neighboring country to maintain the canals, there will have to be bilateral dialogue. “Bolivia is a pacifist state that practices diplomacy with the peoples”, he assured.

The spokesman of Bolivia’s legal team for this case, Sebastián Michel, explained that the decision of a possible dismantling of the artificial canals will not take place immediately.

Thus, he has maintained that it is “necessary to establish a rapprochement with the Chilean authorities”, so that he has raised the possibility of a meeting in January of next year, reports the ABI agency.

Bolivia and Chile have settled the Silala controversy, initiated in 2016, announcing the continuation of the roadmap agreed by both States in 2021 between Arce and the then Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.

The president of the ICJ, US judge Joan Donoghue, has urged the governments of the two Latin American countries to hold “consultations on an ongoing basis” to guarantee the rights and protection of the waters of the Silala, reports the ABI agency.

The ICJ has declared this Thursday that “there are no doubts” that the Silala is an “international” river, as recognized by the administrations of both countries, in line with customary international law. While it has ratified that Bolivia has the right to maintain or dismantle infrastructures present in its territory.

The magistrate – who did not rule explicitly for or against either country – announced that the tribunal had rejected Chile’s claim, which accused La Paz of an alleged breach of the obligation to notify the use of the waters.

It has also dismissed Bolivia’s counterclaim against Chile, so that the country will not have to compensate the Bolivian government, which claimed to have sovereignty over what it described as “artificial canals” that serve to drain the flow of the Silala.

EVO MORALES CRITICIZES CHILEAN REACTION Bolivia’s former president Evo Morales has reacted to the ICJ ruling by criticizing Chile’s reaction, which calls the decision a “triumph”.

“The ICJ has denied the five claims of Chile for the use of the waters of the Silala and has recognized the sovereignty of Bolivia over that natural resource and its channeling. But former Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz speaks of a ‘triumph’,” said the former Bolivian president.

Morales, who criticized Muñoz for using “intrigue for political gain”, recalled that the court recognizes Bolivia’s sovereignty, while “Chile has no acquired rights”.

“The highest court of justice in the world also determines the equitable and reasonable use of waters within the framework of continued cooperation between the two countries. This ruling recognizing our sovereignty over the waters of the Silala is the product of a State policy”, recognized the former leader.

However, he thanked the efforts of the country’s authorities “who worked with dedication and patriotism in this cause”.

Morales assured that Chile was “stealing” the water resources of the riverbed, so that he affirmed that the lawsuit in The Hague was going to “establish sovereignty”.

The tribunal pointed out that the Chilean authorities have “the right to make an equitable and reasonable use” of the waters and “should not compensate Bolivia” since the country is “duly” using the water resources.

The territorial conflict dates back to 1879, when Bolivia lost its access to the Pacific in the war with Chile, which culminated in the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1904, on the right of free transit of Bolivian goods to and from ports on this ocean.

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