LIMA Nov 30 Colombian President Juan Manuel
Santos said on Friday he hoped to have "civilized" talks with
Nicaragua's leader to resolve a dispute over their sea border
after a U.N. court slashed Bogota's maritime territory.
Both countries have warships in the resource-rich waters but
Santos urged diplomacy.
"I'm from the school of having an iron fist but wearing a
silk glove," he told reporters at a South American summit in
Lima. "I hope to be able to tell Nicaragua's president that we
will manage this in the most civilized and respectful way
Santos said he plans to meet with Nicaraguan President
Daniel Ortega on Saturday in Mexico, where they will attend the
swearing in of Mexican President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto.
"We will explore all these paths and leave none out," Santos
said. "A treaty with Nicaragua will require a conversation with
Ortega has said he expects Colombia, a close ally of the
United States, to recognize the court's decision.
Santos has refused to apply a ruling made last week by the
Hague-based International Court of Justice that reduced a large
expanse of Colombia's maritime territory, drawing the border in
favor of Nicaragua while giving a cluster of disputed islands to
In protest, Colombia withdrew from a treaty on Wednesday
that bound it to the U.N. court's decision. But the action does
not have retroactive impact for the waters, which have potential
offshore oil and gas deposits as well as fishing potential.
If left unsolved, the dispute could exacerbate regional
tensions. Left-leaning Nicaragua likely will find support with
allies including Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.