LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Bolivians staged demonstrations across the country on Friday to demand sea access for their landlocked country.
Bolivia lost its only seacoast to neighboring Chile during a war from 1879 to 1883 and the nation has demanded ocean access for generations. But Chile says the issue was settled once and for all in a 1904 treaty.
Demonstrators flooded the streets of La Paz and other cities across Bolivia waving national flags and holding banners. It came at a time when the International Court of Justice is considering Bolivia’s request to order Chile to negotiate access.
President Evo Morales asked Chile’s government on Friday to find a resolution for the benefit of future generations.
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“Let’s not leave pending problems for our children and instead look for mutually beneficial solutions … that can close the wounds of the past,” Morales said in a speech in the Bolivian capital.
Morales recently said that he’s prepared to discuss options with neighboring Chile for gaining access to the Pacific, but he argues that powerful forces in Chile do not want talks.
Chilean government spokeswoman Cecilia Perez said Friday that “Bolivia has no right to the Chilean sea or its territory.” Chile’s representative in The Hague, Claudio Grossman, said that Chile “will continue on the path of diplomacy, but does not feel judicially obliged.”
The court’s final and binding decision is expected to take months.