El Salvador protests against Honduras for ratifying a maritime treaty with Nicaragua

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By Lourdes Hurtado M.

Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina reported Tuesday that El Salvador filed a protest against Honduras for having ratified a maritime treaty with Nicaragua in the waters of the Gulf of Fonseca (Pacific), a region shared by the three Central American countries.

“El Salvador, in fact, protested our adoption of the Treaty, we are going to answer that protest because they have another position. We have received a protest from El Salvador, because they argue that we must be all three, if not, the negotiation is not worth it,” Reina told Channel 5 Television in Tegucigalpa.

On March 19, the Parliament of Honduras ratified a “Treaty of Limits with Nicaragua in the Caribbean Sea and waters outside the Gulf of Fonseca,” which was signed by the two countries in October 2021 by the then Honduran president, Juan Orlando Hernández, and his Nicaraguan counterpart, Daniel Ortega.

Reina did not specify details about El Salvador’s protest, but recalled that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague handed down a judgment on a centenary bordering dispute between Honduras and El Salvador on September 11, 1992.

The Honduran diplomat pointed out that the ICJ “does not say at any time the three of them have to be there, the Court says we invite the parties to negotiate.”

“In fact, we are looking to sit back, we are inviting El Salvador and Nicaragua. I think it’s time to sit down and see this,” he stressed.

Queen believes that it is time to “overcome this stage of maritime differences, of border differences, to move forward to an era of development in the Gulf of Fonseca.”

In addition, he recalled that for many years El Salvador’s position was that only “El Salvador and Nicaragua were bordered on the exit of the Gulf and that Honduras had domestic rights, but not to establish its rights outside the Pacific.”

“But the 1992 judgment is clear, here is a co-sovereignty of the three states, but from the closing line of La Bocana, Honduras can extend and has the right to extend its sovereign rights to the Pacific Ocean,” he stressed.

“He also points out that there is a line of three maritime miles corresponding to each State, which would be like an imaginary line, that they are part of the territorial sea and from here the three states are invited to agree on a negotiation, in good faith, to establish the starting line,” said the Honduran Foreign Minister.

The ICJ defined the land and maritime borders between Honduras and El Salvador, which in July 1969 waged a 100-hour war for a centuries-old border and immigration dispute that distanced the two countries for eleven years, until in 1980 they signed a peace treaty in Lima, Peru, aimed at the fact that in the next five years they will seek a bilateral settlement, which they did not achieve, so the case led to the ICJ.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in La Prensa Grafica