Peru's Foreign Ministry Wednesday released a statement regarding Bolivia's potential access to the Pacific Ocean, following remarks from President Pedro Castillo in a radio interview with CNN in which the head of state sparked controversies over that sensitive issue.
The conditions of access are provided for in the Framework Agreement for the Binational Friendship, Cooperation and Integration Project 'Gran Mariscal Andrés de Santa Cruz' and the other Ilo Agreements on free and tourist zones, signed by both countries on January 24, year 1992,” Peru's diplomatic administration said.
Efforts to provide better conditions for the transit of Bolivian people and goods through Peruvian territory and ports respond to a historical position of Peru that, under no circumstances, can be interpreted as affecting our sovereignty, the document also pointed out. It also highlighted the agreements allowed Bolivia to enjoy a set of facilities in said Peruvian port and in the special economic zones that were created to favor the development of the south of our country, while facilitating Bolivian foreign trade.
Peru promotes and defends the values and interests of the State on the international stage based on the full exercise of its sovereignty and on the basis of the security and integrity of its territory, the statement also read. According to the Foreign Ministry, Peru has expressed on several occasions its broadest spirit of solidarity and understanding in relation to the landlocked situation that affects Bolivia.
Peru's action abroad is based on full respect for the Constitution and International Law, in particular, on faithful compliance with the treaties to which the State is a party, as well as on a permanent will to strengthen relations of friendship, cooperation and integration with neighboring countries, says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Castillo had admitted during the interview that some time ago he had spoken in favor of granting Bolivia access to the sea and said the idea should be put up for consultation [through a plebiscite]. After those remarks, Castillo took extensive flak from most of Peru's political spectrum.
I am not telling you that I am going to give you the sea for Bolivia (…) Now we will agree, we will consult the people. For that, the people need to manifest themselves, Castillo had said during the interview.
Bolivia's Lower House Speaker Freddy Mamani, welcomed Castillo's predisposition, which certainly shows your democratic spirit and willingness to strengthen brotherhood among peoples, he wrote on Twitter.
But Peru's Parliament Speaker María del Carmen Alva told Castillo that the territory of the State is inalienable and inviolable in accordance with article 54 of the Peruvian Constitution: “The territory of the State is inalienable and inviolable. It includes the soil, the subsoil, the maritime domain, and the airspace that covers them”. National sovereignty and the Constitution are respected,” Alva wrote on Twitter.
Tomorrow they will come out with headlines in the newspaper that Pedro delivers the sea to Bolivia, but that does not matter to me, because I have come to do the will of the Peruvian people,” Castillo had feared during the CNN interview.
However, Popular Force Congressman Ernesto Bustamente recalled that Peru's Congressional Foreign Relations Committee has already declared former Bolivian President Evo Morales a persona non grata for his meddling in the country's internal affairs seeking a way out to the sea.
Congresswoman Rosselli Amuruz of Avanza País asked for Castillo's resignation after acknowledging he was not prepared for the job. “Our country cannot go aimlessly, having a person whose position is too big for him and who admits that he is not prepared to govern: A confession on the part, a relief of evidence: resign, Mr. President,” Amuruz said.
As per the agreement signed in 1992 by Presidents Alberto Fujimori and Jaime Paz Zamora, Peru gave Bolivia a 99-year concession for the southern port of Ilo, which guarantees Bolivia not only access to that terminal on the Pacific but also development of a free zone and tourist.