San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

El Salvador urges neighbors to solve gulf dispute

SAN SALVADOR – El Salvador’s Foreign Minister Hugo Martínez on Thursday said his government is seeking an appointment with Honduras and Nicaragua in coming days to address issues related to the Gulf of Fonseca, whose waters are shared by the three countries.

“We have proposed a summit of presidents that would be held after Holy Week to review the progress we’ve reached regarding gulf development,” Martínez said.

Foreign ministries of the three countries have yet to define a specific date for the meeting, which could take place in Honduras.

Martínez will address the issue on Saturday during a private meeting in Costa Rica with foreign ministers of the region. Costa Rica chairs the Central American Integration System (SICA).

On Wednesday, Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes stressed in a letter to his Honduran counterpart, Porfirio Lobo, his “willingness to make the Gulf of Fonseca a zone of peace and development.”

The previous day Lobo said that “the will exists” in El Salvador and Nicaragua to advance on these issues.

With an area of ​​3,200 square kilometers, the Gulf of Fonseca has been the scene of political tensions and conflicts between fishermen and coast guards of the three countries, which accuse each other of illegal incursions into territorial waters of the other.

In December, the three presidents agreed to “favor the resolution of conflicts through peaceful negotiations,” ruling out the use of military force.

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