San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

OAS Votes for Nicaragua to Remove Troops

Late Friday night, 22 of the 27 members of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) voted that Nicaraguan troops should evacuate their post on the Isla Calero, the disputed parcel of land in the recent Costa Rica and Nicaragua border conflict on the Río San Juan.

After a marathon 8-hour meeting in Washington D.C. in which little progress was made to resolve the dispute, the Chair of the Permanent Council and Permanent Representative of El Salvador to the OAS, Joaquín Maza, announced that the OAS “welcomes and endorses the recommendations of the Secretary General”, José Miguel Insulza. On Tuesday, after a 3-day visit to Nicaragua and Costa Rica, Insulza outlined four recommendations to resolve the conflict between the two nations. One of Insulza’s recommendations was to remove all troops from the disputed region on the Río San Juan.

Of the 27 nations represented in the OAS, only two – Nicaragua and Venezuela – voted against the decision to remove troops from the region. Three other nations did not participate in the vote.

Maza also asked that the removal of the troops be “initiated simultaneously and without delaying the process” and that Insulza’s other recommendations also be honored. The other recommendations made to the two nations include that hold a Binational Commission meeting, which is scheduled for Nov. 27 in Guanacaste in northwest Costa Rica, that they discuss the demarcation of the boundary and that they cooperate to combat drug trafficking and organized crime in the region of the Río San Juan.

“Today’s result gives a strong message that an escalation will be avoided,” said Costa Rican Foreign Minister René Castro. “However we are not going to stop monitoring the day-to-day fulfillment of the agreement by Nicaragua, nor are we going to do away with the idea of consulting alternative entities to resolve the dispute.”

Last week, President Laura Chinchilla mentioned that, if needed, Costa Rica might look to involve the United Nations to resolve the dispute, which has been carrying on for almost four weeks.

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