MANAGUA Dec 5 Nicaraguan President Daniel
Ortega said on Wednesday that Nicaragua would not grant oil
drilling licenses in ecologically sensitive Caribbean waters
that belonged until recently to Colombia.
Last month, the International Court of Justice in The Hague
ruled that a cluster of disputed small islands in the western
Caribbean belonged to Colombia and not to Nicaragua, but drew a
demarcation line in favor of Nicaragua in the nearby waters.
The ruling reduced the expanse of ocean belonging to
Colombia, and the UNESCO-recognized Seaflower Biosphere Reserve,
which Ortega has sought to protect, falls under the demarcation
"I've been very clear," Ortega said at a military event. "In
this Nicaraguan reserve, we won't be offering concessions so
people can come and destroy it by boring holes into the ground
looking for oil."
Ortega said he raised the subject of refusing drilling
licenses when he met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos
in Mexico last week.
"The world can be sure that Nicaragua won't be doing it, and
so can the Colombian people and President Santos," he added,
noting the issue had been one of Santos' top concerns when they
Both Ortega and Santos said last week that they hoped to
avoid war and instead use dialogue to solve the territorial
The Seaflower Biosphere Reserve, located between Colombia
and Jamaica, covers roughly 10 percent of the Caribbean Sea, and
is a major site of coral and fish diversity.