Chile said Thursday that Bolivia's recent verbal escalation of a dispute over Pacific coastline, far from paving the way toward progress, has put the centenarian issue back to square one.
Interior Minister Jose Miguel Insulza said the "bilateral dialogue went backward" since La Paz began to broadcast its demands "for the grandstands." Insulza said relations began to deteriorate when Bolivian President Carlos Mesa took the contentious issue to the Monterrey Summit
Chilean President Ricardo Lagos did not look kindly on Mesa's decision to raise the matter at the hemispheric forum.
"When rhetoric replaces concrete efforts and the lines of work that existed are interrupted and, instead, the work done is for the grandstands, this is certainly a step backward," Insulza told Chilean state television.
According to Insulza, La Paz must "put aside this misguided attitude and resume negotiations." "There isn't much room or climate for constructive solutions," Insulza said.
Insulza's statements came hours after Bolivian opposition leader Evo Morales proposed a trade embargo against Chile to press Santiago to offer a solution to his country's landlocked status.
Santiago has refused to give Bolivia sovereign access to the sea, arguing their 1904 peace treaty, signed after Chile seized Bolivia's coastline in a late 19th-century war, established the definitive borders