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Peru tells Hague court Chile sea claims unjust
THE HAGUE |
THE HAGUE Dec 3 (Reuters) - Peru accused Chile of claiming fishing rights over thousands of square miles of the eastern Pacific on Monday at the opening of a court case which is being watched closely in a region with long memories of 19th and 20th century border disputes.
Peru brought the case against Chile at the International Court of Justice in 2008 after two decades of disputes between the two countries over the boundaries between their respective sea areas. The presidents of both countries have pledged to abide by the court's ruling.
On the first day of hearings in The Hague, Peru's representative said Chile knew its claims were false according to the 1952 Santiago Declaration which established 200-mile exclusive economic zones off their respective coasts.
"Chile is fully aware that the language of the Santiago Declaration does not support its claim that the two parties agreed to a maritime boundary stretching out 200 nautical miles from their coastlines," Allan Wagner told judges at the ICJ.
Alain Pellet, a lawyer representing Peru, said Chile's claim would "deprive Peru of some 16,000 square kilometres of sea. That's an area almost as large as Sri Lanka."
Hearings in the case will continue for the next two weeks, with Chile presenting its case on Thursday. Judges are not expected to rule before next year.
"The limits of our frontiers have been set by bilateral agreements signed by both countries," Maria Teresa Infante Caffi, a member of Chile's legal team, told reporters after the hearing. (Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Jon Hemming)
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