Chile rules out negotiating over Bolivian maritime passage claims

Santiago (AFP) –


Chile will not negotiate with Bolivia over the latter's territorial claims to land lost in a 19th century war between the two countries, foreign affairs minister Roberto Ampuero said on Friday.

Bolivia took a case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2013 seeking to regain access to the Pacific Ocean it lost following an 1879-84 war it fought against Chile and alongside Peru.

The ICJ is due to rule on Bolivia's maritime claims this month.

"Our sovereign territory is protected and will not be part of anyone's negotiations," said Ampuero in a press conference following a two-hour meeting with ex-foreign affairs minsters.

Defeat in the 19th century war left Bolivia landlocked and today it is one of the poorest countries in South America.

In 1978, it tried to negotiate a sovereign passage to the Pacific Ocean but rejected Chilean counterdemands for a territory swap.

The neighbors have not had diplomatic relations since then.