Bolivia celebrated on Monday Chile’s recognition of the right of the Bolivian Government over the artificial canals built in the Silala and even does not object to their possible dismantling, in the continuation of the arguments between the two countries as part of the oral hearing of the International Court of The Hague .
Chile and Bolivia begin arguments before the ICJ in the Silala case
The Secretary General of the Strategic Directorate for Maritime Claims, Silala and International Water Resources, of Bolivia, Emerson Calderón, was present at the session.
In particular, Calderón exemplified that “on Friday, the Chilean agent (Ximena Fuentes) acknowledged that her country is not opposed to Bolivia exercising its rights over the canals installed in Silala.
“Including, making decisions regarding the conservation or not of this infrastructure that has caused an improved flow in the cross-border flow that is currently draining towards Chile,” he specified.
According to Calderón, the recognition is important because “in the past, Chile wanted Bolivia to maintain the canalization and the improved flow towards its territory.”
Now we must highlight that there was an acknowledgment (at least) in the participation on Friday in which Chile finally accepted that, regarding channeling, Bolivia has free availability.”
“The Chilean team has accepted that Bolivia has the right to restore the wetlands that have been damaged by the infrastructure installed in the area,” he explained.
According to the expert, “Chile unilaterally created a channeling network for groundwater coming from Bolivia to artificially increase water flow, not to protect it from contamination by mosquito eggs.”
He added that these waters have been a unique international watercourse for almost 100 years, since it has artificially increased flows.
On Friday, at the beginning of the presentation of the oral arguments for the waters of the Silala in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, the Chilean agent Ximena Fuentes stated that “Chile has no objection to Bolivia dismantling the canals ” manmade constructed for the flow of that water resource to the neighboring country.
Bolivia rejected the sanitary reasons that Chile exposed for the construction of the Silala canals. The arguments put forward by Chile had to do with canals for insect control.
However, the lawyer and civil engineer Gabriel Eckstein revealed documents that indicate the economic, and not sanitary, interest of Chilean companies, such as the Antofagasta-Bolivia railway (FCAB), to have a greater supply of fresh water in one of the most arid on the planet.
This Monday, Bolivia continues with the presentation of its oral arguments before the Court of The Hague.
The dispute over the waters of the Silala reached the ICJ after Chile filed a lawsuit in 2016 so that this water resource, which originates in springs in Bolivian territory, be recognized as a “river” of international course, and two years later Bolivia file a counterclaim.