BOGOTA Nov 29 Colombia will not apply a U.N.
court ruling shifting some of its resource-rich waters to
Nicaragua until the Andean nation is sure that "the rights of
Colombians are well defended," President Juan Manuel Santos said
The Hague-based International Court of Justice reduced a
large expanse of sea belonging to Colombia last week, drawing
the border in favor of Nicaragua while giving a small cluster of
disputed islands to Bogota in a binding ruling.
Both countries have warships in the area.
"I'm not going to apply that ruling by the court in The
Hague until guaranteeing that the rights of Colombians are well
defended," Santos said in a speech. "I am going to set out,
morning, noon and night, to ensure that we recover the rights
that were violated."
It was not clear if Santos was saying that Colombia would
not abide by the ruling at all nor what measures he would seek
to fight the decision. Officials at the president's office did
not immediately respond to attempts to seek clarification.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has said he expects
Colombia to recognize the court's ruling, but experts say Bogota
could reject it and seek to negotiate a new border pact.
On Wednesday, Colombia withdrew from a treaty that bound the
country to the U.N. court's decisions, but the move does not
have retroactive impact.
Nicaragua's economic exclusion zone in the Caribbean was
expanded by the ruling, giving it access to potential offshore
oil and gas deposits as well as fishing rights.