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Cablegate: Taking the Maritime Dispute to the Hague: Peru's

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPE #0177/01 0311532
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 311532Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7790
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 1905
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 5461
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7744
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 3261
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1025
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JAN 4720
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 9424
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 1717
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO PRIORITY 1718
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L LIMA 000177

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR CI PE
SUBJECT: TAKING THE MARITIME DISPUTE TO THE HAGUE: PERU'S
PERSPECTIVE

REF: A. LIMA 072
B. SANTIAGO 077

Classified B...

id: 139497
date: 1/31/2008 15:32
refid: 08LIMA177
origin: Embassy Lima
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination: 08LIMA72|08SANTIAGO77
header:
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPE #0177/01 0311532
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 311532Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7790
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 1905
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 5461
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7744
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 3261
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1025
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JAN 4720
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 9424
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 1717
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO PRIORITY 1718
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL PRIORITY


----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L LIMA 000177

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR CI PE
SUBJECT: TAKING THE MARITIME DISPUTE TO THE HAGUE: PERU'S
PERSPECTIVE

REF: A. LIMA 072
B. SANTIAGO 077

Classified By: POL/C ALEXIS LUDWIG FOR REASONS 1.4 (B)

1. (C) Summary: The GOP continues to emphasize that its
decision to take Peru's maritime border dispute with Chile to
the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague should
be seen not as an unfriendly act but rather as an effort to
resolve an impediment to broader integration. A prominent
local analyst explained that the Hague process was initiated
by former President Toledo's government and could not have
been easily derailed by Garcia. Chilean Political Counselor
told us his government knew the Hague submission was coming
but that it contradicted President Garcia's earlier
assurances to President Bachelet that pursuing the maritime
dispute would not be a priority. While confident about its
legal position, the GOC was concerned the ICJ could rule, at
least partially, in Peru's favor. For its part, the GOP
hopes that Chile and Peru can get back to building better
relations once the noise dies down. End Summary.

Peru Hopes To Continue Improving Relations
------------------------------------------
2. (C) What the GOP has told us privately mirrors the message
government officials have repeatedly stated in public: Peru
hopes to leave its maritime dispute with Chile in the
apolitical channel of the International Court of Justice in
The Hague while the two countries continue to build bilateral
confidence and cooperation. Foreign Minister Jose Garcia
Belaunde has publicly reiterated that Chile should not view
submission of the case as an unfriendly act, but rather as an
effort to amicably resolve a longstanding bilateral irritant.
Jaime Sparks, Chile desk officer at Peru's Foreign Ministry,
commented to Poloff that the loud media reaction of both
countries was expected but would probably soon fade, just as
it did after the GOP published the new maritime border map in
August 2007. He also hoped the tit-for-tat rhetoric --
including Vice President Gampietri's criticism of Chile's
decision to delay fast-track consideration of their bilateral
trade agreement -- would not escalate.

3. (C) A prominent local foreign policy analyst, Alejandro
Deustua, told poloffs that Peru's maritime claim was
long-standing, legally justified, and broadly supported. (A
recent El Comercio poll stated that 99% of Peruvians
supported taking the claim to the Hague.) Deustua
underscored that Peru's repeated requests to discuss the
maritime border, dating back to 1986, have been routinely
ignored because Chile believed the issue was settled by
agreements in 1952 and 1954. Deustua added that the decision
to prepare a legal case for submission to the ICJ in The
Hague was taken in 2005 by President Toledo and that, since
taking office, President Garcia had striven to lower the
temperature of what has been a hugely sensitive and volatile
issue in Peru. Ironically, given the heated reaction from
Chile, many Peruvian political actors had criticized
President Garcia for deemphasizing and slowing down the
process instead of publicly championing it.

Perspective From the Chilean Embassy
------------------------------------
4. (C) Chile's XXXXXXXXXXXX Counselor in Lima XXXXXXXXXXXX
confirmed to us that the Peruvians had informed his Embassy
and his government at every level and at every stage in the
process about their plans to submit the case to the ICJ. In
that sense, the GOC was not surprised or blindsided by Peru's
submission. At the same time, however, during a visit to
Chile as president-elect, Garcia had assured Bachelet that
pursuing the maritime dispute would not be a priority issue
for his government, and that the GOC felt "betrayed" by the
apparent shift. XXXXXXXXXXXX said that his government had to
publicly voice its opposition to the GOP's actions, but
predicted that the furor would soon die down. (Note: Chile's
Ambassador to Peru Christian Barros, who was called back to
Santiago for consultations after the GOP submitted its
paperwork in The Hague, has since returned to Lima. End
Comment.)

5. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX added that his government had become more
concerned that the Hague could grant concessions to Peru
after a unanimous Court decision in December to adjudicate a
similar maritime dispute between Colombia and Nicaragua.
That decision could effectively invalidate a bilateral
agreement demarcating the territory, according to XXXXXXXXXXXX , on
the grounds that only a full treaty can make such
demarcations. XXXXXXXXXXXX feared this argument would provide a
small window for Peru's contention that the 1952 and 1954
fishing accords were not legally sufficient to settle the
boundary. XXXXXXXXXXXX said they were less concerned about an
October ruling regarding a Honduras-Nicaragua boundary
dispute (ref A).

Comment:
--------
6. (C) The Garcia Government has placed a high priority on
improving its relations with Chile. But this necessarily
means overcoming (or sidestepping) a series of emotionally
and politically charged issues and focusing on pragmatic
interests such as broader commercial and security
integration. One of the thorniest obstacles to this larger
goal, in terms of its potential effect on domestic politics,
is Peru's maritime border claim with Chile. Whatever its
legal merits (there appear to be compelling arguments on both
sides), in submitting its legal brief to the ICJ the GOP
hopes to let the process play itself out quietly, impartially
and without reference to internal (Peruvian or Chilean)
politics. Once the predictable bilateral uproar subsides,
the hope here is that Peru and Chile can get on with their
real business.
NEALON

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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