President Piñera on ICJ verdict: “Morales created false expectations for his own people”

SANTIAGO – President Sebastián Piñera has criticized his Bolivian colleague Evo Morales in his first speech after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling this morning. He said justice had been done and thanked all fellow Chileans. In a long-awaited verdict this morning, the ICJ decided that Chile has no obligation of negotiating direct sea access with Bolivia.

The Piñera administration had awaited the trial with confidence and this morning it became clear their trust wasn´t misplaced, as the ICJ in The Hague decided in its verdict that Chile is not obliged to negotiate sovereign sea access with Bolivia. Bolivia had gone to the ICJ as the government believes that, due to different agreements signed after the War of the Pacific in the 19th century, Chile is obliged to at least negotiate, if not return, sea access with the Bolivians.

In his first reaction, during a press moment in La Moneda, president Piñera first thanked all his fellow Chileans and “all political forces”. He continued by saying that “justice had been done” and that “the ICJ has established clearly that Chile never had or will have any obligation [to negotiate, red.]”.

“Morales made us lose five years of healthy relations”

The president had sharp words for his colleague Morales, who had made the step to the ICJ in The Hague and saw the maritime dispute as a matter of national importance, making it a priority during his term – also considering the fact that Morales is seeking re-election in the presidential elections in Bolivia. Piñera said: “Evo Morales has created false expectations for his own people and has also created great frustrations for his own people. He made us lose five valuable years of healthy relations”. Despite his strong words and Chile´s position after the verdict, he stated that “Chile will maintain its position of dialogue and good relations.”

Evo doesn´t give up: “We lost our access through an invasion”

The Bolivian president Evo Morales also responded to the verdict, that completely rejected Bolivian demand that sought to force Chile to negotiate a sovereign access for Bolivia to the sea. “The invitation for a dialogue is still open,” Morales said. “Bolivia will never give up. The people of Bolivia and the peoples of the world know, that sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean has been taken away from us through an invasion”.

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