San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

OAS Recommends that Armed Forces Leave Conflict Area

José Miguel Insulza, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), announced Tuesday that the organization recommends that all armed forces leave the area of conflict between Costa Rica and Nicaragua along the Río San Juan. During the last three weeks, armed Nicaraguan soldiers have been spotted on Isla Calero, on the southern bank of the Río San Juan. The river forms the eastern part of the boundary between the two countries.

Insulza, who presented the OAS’ recommendations before the Permanent Council, offered four suggestions to Costa Rica and Nicaragua to resolve the conflict. In addition to the removal of all troops from the area, the OAS also advised that the two countries consider working together to determine and demarcate official boundaries, that both countries cooperate to combat drug and arms trafficking in the region and that they meet to further discuss the matter in the nations’ Binational Commission.

“We hope that these recommendations will assist two brother countries to resolve the differences that exist between them in a peaceful manner,” Insulza said.

The recommendations presented by the OAS arrive a day after Insulza returned from a weekend visit to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. He met with the presidents and foreign ministers of both countries and visited the area of the conflict in two helicopter flyovers.

As Enrique Castillo, the Costa Rican ambassador to the OAS, accepted Insulza’s recommendations, he also issued an ultimatum to Nicaragua, demanding that all Nicaraguan troops be removed from the area in the next 48 hours. Castillo also went on to refer to Nicaragua as the “aggressor” in this dispute and said that a lack of compliance with the recommendations of the OAS would be considered a “mockery” of the organization and the region.

The Costa Rica and Nicaragua Binational Commission is scheduled to meet on Nov. 27 in Guanacaste.

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