This evening, on national television, the Head of State disclosed the position of the Chilean Government regarding Bolivia's claim against our country.
Below is the full text of the President's message:
Allow me to take a couple of minutes of your time to let you know the decision we have taken as Chilean Government with regard to the claim filed by Bolivia against our country at the International Court of Justice of The Hague.
On April 24, 2013, Bolivia requested the International Court to declare that Chile has the obligation to negotiate an agreement by which our country should cede territory for Bolivia to have sovereign access to the sea.
As you know, Chile and Bolivia established their definitive boundaries under the 1904 Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which has been observed and implemented by both States for over a century, Chile having complied with the "amplest and freest right of commercial transit through its territory and ports to the Pacific" in favor of Bolivia.
The Chilean Government has submitted the memoire filed by Bolivia to a thorough analysis by a team composed of the most outstanding local and foreign legal personalities.
After a consultation process, where I have heard different stakeholders of our country, and exercising my duty to safeguard the superior interest of Chile, I have made the decision to challenge the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice of The Hague, to that end submitting Preliminary Objections to the jurisdiction of such Court within the deadline provided for this purpose, which is due to expire next July 15.
This decision is based on the fundamental principles inspiring Chile's foreign policy and that my Government has preserved unchanged. The first of them is the unwavering defense of our territorial integrity and national interests. They are fully in line with the essential principles of international law and the relations among States, mainly including the inviolability of treaties and border stability. This decision also reflects the State Policy that traditionally characterizes the conduct of our foreign relations.
I want you to be sure that there is no argument that has not been considered and opinion that has not been examined
Through this message, I want to acknowledge the valuable contribution and advise of former Presidents of the Republic, leaders of political parties, former Foreign Ministers, congressmen and experts who have selflessly joined in defending the interests of Chile.
In the challenges we have as a country, our unity has always been an irreplaceable value that reinforces and strengthens our positions.
While I make this announcement, our team of lawyers is assembled in Paris along with the agent and co-agent of the case, who under the leadership of Minister Heraldo Muñoz, will revise the final details of the writing that has been prepared and that will be submitted to the International Court of Justice.
That closes a long, serious and exhaustive period of preparation. I wish to announce that according to the rules applicable to these cases – and as directed by the International Court of The Hague – the writings and arguments filed at this stage are confidential and, therefore, they will be disclosed in the future, upon the oral pleadings.
The relations of Chile and Bolivia must be based on permanent principles and values which the Chilean government now endorses in the framework of peaceful neighboring relations and the unwavering respect for international law and, in particular, the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1904 which set the definitive boundaries between the two countries. At this important stage, I know that I count on the support and unity of all my fellow countrymen. The national interest is at stake and we will defend it with all the strength, determination and soberness that this challenge requires.
Thank you very much."