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International court to announce findings in Chile, Bolivia sea dispute

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By Reuters

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – The International Criminal Court will announce its decision next month in a dispute between Chile and Bolivia about access to the Pacific Ocean, the Chilean government said on Wednesday.

The Hague will hold a hearing on Oct. 1 to announce its findings in the Bolivian lawsuit filed in 2013 that seeks to force Chile to negotiate an exit for Bolivia to the sea.

Bolivia lost its access to the sea after a war with Chile in the 19th century, leading to Chile annexing Bolivia’s coastline and leaving the latter landlocked.

Bolivia, in the dispute, argued that Chile had not kept diplomatic promises and obligations it made under international law to negotiate sea access, namely a land corridor and port under its control.

Chile argued in The Hague that it had no obligation to negotiate access to the Pacific Ocean with Bolivia, saying the matter had been settled by a peace treaty more than a decade ago.

In the statement announcing the upcoming decision by The Hague, Chile’s ministry of foreign affairs said on Wednesday the country was “calm” pending the decision of the international tribunal after several years of litigations.

“The government reiterates its commitment to international law and, in particular, its respect for existing limits treaties,” the Chilean foreign ministry said.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and foreign ministry officials will initiate a process of coordination with the different political and institutional parties involved, the statement said.

(Reporting by Antonio De La Jara, writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Bernadette Baum)