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Colombia to fight ICJ ruling over Nicaragua sea territory


13:28, November 22, 2012

BOGOTA, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said on Wednesday that his country will fight a recent ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which expanded Nicaragua's sea territory in Caribbean waters at the expense of Colombia.

Speaking at Congress, Holguin "deplored" the ICJ verdict, saying the government was studying ways to fight it.

"We are not going to be resigned to what has happened," she said, adding Colombia may ask UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to address the matter or seek correction somewhere else.

Colombia is "seriously" studying the possibility of withdrawing from the 1948 Pact of Bogota or American Treaty on Pacific Settlement, which recognizes The Hague-based ICJ as the ultimate arbiter of such disputes in the American continent, said Holguin.

The ICJ ruled on Monday that a cluster of disputed islands in the western Caribbean belonged to Colombia, while giving Nicaragua sovereignty over a large range of sea territory.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega hailed the ruling as a recognition of his country's fishing rights and underwater oil and gas deposits. But Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos rejected the ruling, saying the ICJ had "committed serious mistakes."

Meanwhile, Santos instructed Colombian Navy Commander Admiral Roberto Garcia to continue deploying ships in Caribbean waters now on Nicaragua's side of the maritime border.

Garcia said the order called for maintaining Colombia's sovereignty and drug-trafficking surveillance, as well as protecting Colombian fishermen in the area.

He said the ships would stay put until the scope of the verdict, still being analyzed by the Colombian government, is defined.

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