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OAS head to visit both sides in Central American dispute

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza will visit Costa Rica and Nicaragua
  • The two countries are involved in a border dispute
  • Insulza will meet with both presidents to foster dialogue

(CNN) -- The Organization of American States will send its secretary-general to Costa Rica and Nicaragua to mediate a border dispute between the two countries, the body announced Thursday.

Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza will "promote dialogue" between the neighboring countries, the OAS said.

A day earlier, Costa Rica had made its case in front of an emergency meeting of the OAS in Washington. The country's foreign minister provided what he called evidence that Nicaraguan troops were camped out on Costa Rican soil.

The dispute is over a parcel of land on the Atlantic coast, along the San Juan River, known as Calero Island.

In addition to the troops, Costa Rica claims that a dredging project in the river is dumping sediment on its side of the border, and says that a Costa Rican flag in the area was taken down and a Nicaraguan one posted.

Nicaragua claims that it has not violated the sovereignty of Costa Rica and that all of its activities have taken place on its side of the border.

Nicaragua accused Costa Rica of breaking the diplomatic relations that exist between the countries.

The two countries agreed to "opening a space for the secretary-general to develop initiatives towards overcoming the situation," said Joaquin Maza, Ecuador's representative to the OAS and chair of the body's Permanent Council. "The governments of Costa Rica and Nicaragua have invited the secretary-general to visit their respective countries. The secretary-general has accepted both invites and will travel immediately accompanied by staff from the OAS General Secretariat."

Insulza will travel to San Jose, Costa Rica, on Friday and then proceed to Managua, Nicaragua, meeting with both countries' presidents.

Maza said that the role of the OAS is not to get involved in the border dispute, which affects only the two countries. The goal of its participation is to create dialogue so that the two sides decide how and where to resolve the crisis, he said.