Colombia’s foreign minister calls for dialogue with Nicaragua

Colombia's position on the ruling unclear after different comments from president, foreign minister

(posted Nov. 20, 10:35 a.m.)- Colombia’s Foreign Minister, María Angela Holguín, said her government wants to dialogue with Nicaragua to coordinate security and anti-drug efforts in the Caribbean and to guarantee the rights of Colombian fishermen from the archipelago of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina.

Colombian Foreign Minister María Angela Holguín during a visit to Providencia Island last year (photo/ Colombian Foreign Ministry)

“We hope to have a good relation with the Government of Nicaragua…there are issues we need to work on related to fishing, security, the war on drugs; most certainly we will have a meeting,” Holguín told reporters on San Andres Island this morning, according to EFE reports. “We have to reach agreements on fishing so the islanders can continue fishing in places where they’ve always fished.”

Holguín said that the day after the ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICD) is a “very difficult moment for the country,” but said Colombia’s Foreign Ministry would initiate a meeting with its Nicaraguan counterpart in the coming days.

Last night, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega assured the fishermen of San Andres that they could continue to fish in their waters to “provide food for their families and for the people of San Andres.” He also said he still considers San Andres part of Nicaragua.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, meanwhile, suggested that Colombia would not recognize yesterday’s ruling by the International Court of Justice. He said there are elements of the ruling that contain “omissions, errors, excesses and inconsistencies that we cannot accept.”

The World Court’s ruling provides for Colombia’s fishing rights in the exclusive economic zone corresponding to the archipelago of San Andres and the its smaller islets, but doubles Nicaragua’s maritime territory around the Colombian islands.