Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos announced last week that four U.S. companies were involved in bidding on an oil exploration contract. The exploration was to take place in the Pacific Ocean and on the mainland as well as in the Caribbean near the zone in dispute with Honduras. Honduran officials initially said the plan did not infringe on their maritime area. After several days of study, they apparently concluded that it did.
The International Court of Justice in the Hague is currently studying the dispute over a pie-shaped section of sea and expects a decision next year.
Nicaragua claims the maritime line should follow the general line of the border, angling out from the 15th parallel at the coast to the 17th parallel. Honduras argues it should follow the 15th parallel.
Perez complained that Nicaragua's decision "would take some 30,000 square kilometers of the Caribbean from Honduras." The border issue was inflamed in 1999 when Honduras signed a treaty with Colombia that recognized the South American country's claims in another dispute with Nicaragua. In reprisal, Nicaragua imposed a 35% tax on Honduran goods.
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