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Gobierno de Chile teme fallo favorable al Perú en La Haya

id: 137434 date: 1/15/2008 22:55 refid: 08LIMA72 origin: Embassy Lima classification: CONFIDENTIAL destination: header: VZCZCXYZ0003 PP RUEHWEB DE RUEHPE #0072/01 0152255 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 152255Z JAN 08 FM AMEMBASSY LIMA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7654 INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 1880 RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 5420 RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7717 RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 3234 RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0997 RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JAN 4686 RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 9400 RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 1679 RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO PRIORITY 1682 RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE PRIORITY 0941 RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL PRIORITY ----------------- header ends ---------------- C O N F I D E N T I A L LIMA 000072 SIPDIS SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/04/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PINR, CI, PE SUBJECT: PERU TAKES CHILE BORDER DISPUTE TO THE HAGUE Classified By: POL/C ALEXIS LUDWIG FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) 1. (C) Summary: The GOP plans shortly to submit to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague its legal brief in support of adjusting Peru's maritime border with Chile. The Peru-Chile boundary dispute dates to the 19th Century War of the Pacific when the victorious Chile seized a substantial chunk of southern Peru. Since the war, most of the land border has been successfully delineated, but debate over the maritime boundary continues to animate Peruvian nationalists, eager politicians and others. While Chile's position is that there is no dispute, Peru believes that a formal agreement is needed to settle the maritime boundary matter definitively. Officials in Peru's border regions and in the Foreign Ministry stress the broad positive relationship with Chile and hope the Hague process will resolve a thorny issue that has prevented further integration. Peruvian officials also believe they will win concessions at the Hague, and the recent appointment of former Defense (and Foreign) Minister Alan Wagner to oversee the GOP's case at the Hague underscores the seriousness of Peru's intentions. Some officials justify their optimism by citing the October 2007 ICJ decision to resolve a similar Nicaragua-Honduras maritime dispute by splitting the two countries' claims down the middle. End Summary. Roots of the Maritime Dispute ----------------------------- 2. (U) Peru has disputed its border with Chile periodically since the War of the Pacific (1879-1884), when Chile seized a large piece of what was then southern Peruvian territory. The two parties demarcated their shared land border in a 1929 treaty, starting from "a point on the coast denominated 'Concordancia', located 10 kilometers north of the Lluta River bridge, continuing eastward parallel to and ten kilometers north of the Chilean section of the Arica-La Paz railroad". In accordance with the treaty, a bilateral commission established a series of boundary markers called "hitos" to delineate the border. Hito 1 is located several hundred meters inland, within sight of the Concordancia (on the shoreline where the land meets the sea); subsequent 'hitos' extend northeastward through the desert into the interior. These 'hitos' and the terrestrial borderline they describe are undisputed. 3. (U) The 1929 treaty, however, did not explicitly discuss the maritime border. Peru and Chile eventually addressed this issue implicitly in two fishing agreements in 1952 and 1954. In the first accord, the parties agreed to respect their neighbors' sovereign rights over a zone of 200 nautical miles extending from each country's shore. In the second, they agreed to establish a band on either side of a "maritime border" where boats could move freely in order to protect innocent fishermen that accidentally crossed into the neighboring country's sovereign waters. The 1954 agreement established this band along the "parallel that constitutes the maritime limit between the two countries." That is, for the purposes of fishing vessels from either country that strayed into the territorial waters of the other, the agreement tacitly recognized Peru and Chile's maritime border as a line projecting westward into the ocean along a geographical lateral (latitide parallel). In joint protocols in 1968 and 1969, Peru and Chile confirmed this interpretation and explicitly established "Hito 1" as the point of departure for the maritime border. 4. (SBU) In the absence of a formal treaty describing the maritime boundary between Chile and Peru, Chile observes the boundary implicitly described in the 1954 fishing agreement and elaborated in 1968-1967 protocols. For this reason, it has become and remains Chile's contention that there is no maritime boundary dispute with Peru. By contrast, Peru contends that the 1952 and 1954 fishing agreements were never intended to establish the formal maritime boundary between the two countries, and do not do so now. Peru believes that a formal agreement explicitly describing this maritime boundary is needed to settle the matter once and for all. In that sense, the core disagreement is whether there is a dispute at all, with Peru claiming 'yes' and Chile saying 'no.' 5. (SBU) Many Peruvians further argue that the informal maritime boundary established in the 1954 fishing agreement unfairly favors Chile because Peru's landmass north of the parallel juts westward into the Pacific; as a result, Chile holds sovereignty over a larger maritime zone, including coastal waters "in front of" Peru's land mass. (One Peruvian living near the border told Poloff the parallel runs so close to land that in some areas one steps off Peruvian soil into Chilean waters.) Peru argues that the maritime border should begin at the point of Concordancia -- rather than Hito 1 -- and travel southwest along a line equidistant between Chilean and Peruvian land (rather than along the established lateral). Peru says this is the solution prescribed by international law and the implicit intention of the 1929 treaty, which cannot be overridden by a separate agreement on fishing rights. In arguing for an equidistant line, Peru claims an additional 37,900 square kilometers of maritime sovereignty. In arguing that the line should depart from the point of Concordancia rather than the Hito 1 -- ocated slightly north and inland from the Concordancia -- Peru also claims a small triangle of 37,000 square meters of barren coastal land. A Nationalist Issue ------------------- 6. (SBU) Peruvian politicians regularly exploit the border dispute to appeal to the population's nationalist sentiments. In 2004 then-President Alejandro Toledo, as his poll numbers dropped to single digits, stirred up the border dispute by publicly calling on Chile to open negotiations. In November 2005, Toledo signed a law, unanimously passed by Congress, unilaterally re-establishing the maritime border in accord with Peru's claim. In April 2007, Nationalist Party (PNP) leader Ollanta Humala, along with politicians from the Tacna border region, organized a protest march to the disputed border. In conjunction with the march, PNP congressman Juvenal Ordonez published a flyer titled "Chile Usurps Our Sea and Land" that outlined the conflict and criticized Chile's "expansionist vocation". In June 2007, when Tacna Regional President Hugo Ordonez (brother of Juvenal) welcomed the Chilean Ambassador to lay flowers in homage to Peruvian war heroes, a popular local radio station called out anti-Chilean protestors to burn the flowers. Cross-Border Commerce and Integration Continues --------------------------------------------- -- 7. (C) Tacna Regional President Ordonez stressed to poloff that, despite the maritime dispute, cross border trade with Chile is increasing rapidly. He noted the large numbers of Chileans who cross the border daily to find inexpensive bookstores, pharmacies, doctors, optometrists, dentists, and casinos in Tacna city. He also highlighted the success of Tacna's duty free "Zona Franca", which allows the import of electronics, alcohol, and used cars via the port in the Chilean town Arica. Peru's consul in Arica has publicly stressed the positive relations between authorities and residents along both side of the border and described the Nationalist Party protest in April as serving only to "disturb the peace existing in this zone." Our Foreign Ministry contacts also emphasize positive bilateral cooperation and highlight the success of a series of biannual border conferences held between representatives of the two countries. Comment: Not Just Political Posturing ------------------------------------- 8. (C) Peru's appeal to the ICJ enjoys broad political and popular support, and represents more than a simple banging on the political drums or continued crying over historical spilt milk. Political party and civil society representatives from across the spectrum met January 10 under the auspices of the National Accord to approve the GOP's plan. Moreover, Peruvian officials appear to believe Peru's legal case is compelling. Some have privately said they expect the court to draw a new maritime boundary that splits the difference between the two countries' claims, as it did in the Honduras-Nicaragua dispute. Rather than an attempt to further politicize or publicize the case, President Garcia's recent appointment of former Defense and Foreign Minister Alan Wagner to direct Peru's efforts in The Hague can be read as a signal of the GOP's commitment to see the issue through in earnest. In a best case scenario, the successful and impartial resolution of the maritime boundary issue, supported by both countries, would take away a blunt instrument wielded by political opportunists and radical nationalists to pressure and intimidate the government of the day. This could pave the way to a more robust bilateral integration that overcomes the longstanding impediments of history. NEALON =======================CABLE ENDS============================ id: 180591 date: 11/28/2008 19:46 refid: 08SANTIAGO1042 origin: Embassy Santiago classification: CONFIDENTIAL destination: 08SANTIAGO931|08SANTIAGO942 header: VZCZCXYZ0001 PP RUEHWEB DE RUEHSG #1042/01 3331946 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 281946Z NOV 08 FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4001 INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 3647 RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 2190 RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 0551 RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 1157 RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1858 RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ NOV 6033 RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 5824 RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 1999 RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY ----------------- header ends ---------------- C O N F I D E N T I A L SANTIAGO 001042 SIPDIS PM/RSAT FOR JEFF BURNETT PENTAGON FOR KRISTI HUNT E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/16/2018 TAGS: PBTS, MARR, SNAR, KTIA, PREL, CI, PE, BL SUBJECT: BORDER ISSUES IN NORTHERN CHILE: DISPUTES, DEFENSE PLANS, AND DRUG TRAFFICKING REF: A. SANTIAGO 931 B. SANTIAGO 942 Classified By: E/Pol Chief Juan Alsace for reasons 1.4 (a) and (b). 1. (C) SUMMARY: A contested border and drug trafficking can sometimes bedevil relations between Chile and Peru on a national level, while on a local level, officials from communities on both sides of the border appear committed to cooperation. Government officials in the northern Chilean border town of Arica report cooperation with their Bolivian colleagues is more difficult due to frequent staff changes. Arican government leaders claim Chile's defense plans essentially call for abandoning the city in the event of an attack from the north, and instead creating a hardline to Arica's south at, the port city of Iquique. While mistaken according to embassy defense sources, this perception is indicative of the disconnect from Santiago many Aricans feel. END SUMMARY. 2. (U) Poloff met with elected officials, law enforcement officers, business leaders, press, academic officials, and indigenous leaders during an October trip to the Arica and Parinacota region of northern Chile. Ref A reported on economic issues in the region, Ref B described local political challenges, including corruption and relations with the indigenous Aymara. All Eyes on Maritime Dispute ---------------------------- 3. (SBU) Despite overall good relations with their Peruvian neighbors in Tacna, Aricans were united in decrying Peru's decision to take their maritime border dispute to the Hague. Peru claims its maritime border with Chile should follow the trajectory of the land border, angling down to the southwest. In contrast, the current maritime border runs parallel to longitudinal lines, giving Chile control over nearly 40,000 square kilometers of valuable fishing areas that Peru now claims. Diputado ___________, a member of the Socialist Party, claimed Peru was being hypocritical by demanding a new maritime border, noting Peru benefits from having its maritime border with Ecuador follow longitudinal lines rather than the trajectory of the land border. ______ was dismissive of Peruvian and Bolivian border claims, saying politicians in those countries find it expedient to appeal to nationalist pride and populist tendencies by calling for revised borders regardless of the validity of the claims. Poloff detected a sense among Aricans that the court case is far away and hard to influence, and a quiet confidence that Chile will come out on top. Arica Left Out of Chilean Defense Plans? ---------------------------------------- 4. (C) Both Diputado _______ and District _____________ ________ told Poloff Arica is left out of Chile's plans to defend the northern border in the case of an attack. According to the two government officials, the military determined that it would be too difficult to defend the city given the many gorges nearby. Instead, the military has planned for a hardline north of Iquique, and has stationed most of its F-16s there. (Note: DAO reports that, of Chile's fleet of 28 F-16s, the ten newest ones, which were purchased from the U.S., are based in Iquique. Basing these planes further north would expose them to risk from ground artillery. End Note.) Neither _______ or ________ were particularly troubled by this, remarking armed conflict is unlikely and that, in any case, Arica works hard to maintain favorable relations with Peru. (Comment: While it is true that Arica is geographically difficult to defend, Chilean ground forces have no intention of abandoning the city in the unlikely event that it is attacked, according to DAO sources. Two regiments--a reinforced infantry brigade and the first combined arms brigade, one of the two elite operational units in the Chilean army--are based in Arica. There are also reinforced ground positions near Arica that could be used to help defend the city. End Comment.) 5. (SBU) Chile is also working to eliminate landmines in the region, which were planted along the borders with Peru and Bolivia during the Pinochet era. The Chilean government reported that in May 2008, the latest date for which statistics were available, there were 106,894 landmines in the country--including some in southern Chile near the Argentine border. While Chile had initially committed to eliminating its landmines by 2012, the government now says this is not possible. Locals in Arica were not particularly bothered by the slow pace of removal, noting that only one or two Aricans are injured by landmines each year. (Note: See IIR 6817001509 for more information on demining efforts in northern Chile. End Note.) Drug Trafficking Challenges --------------------------- 6. (SBU) Arica struggles to control drug trafficking that occurs along its borders with Peru and Bolivia. According to Assistant District Attorney Francisco Ganga, drug traffickers use false compartments in suitcases and cars and body cavity smuggling to sneak drugs--almost entirely cocaine--into Chile via the Tacna-Arica border crossing. "Mules" also cross the land borders on foot at night, and some smuggle drugs by boat. Intendente Luis Rocafull told Poloff most mules are Peruvians--particularly Aymara women--who are paid about USD 40 to take a two hour walk across the border. Those caught in Chile face a minimum of seven years in jail. Arica is working on arranging a prisoner transfer agreement with Tacna, Rocafull said, as more than half of the women in Arica's prisons are Peruvian mules. 7. (SBU) At a working level, both District Attorney Jorge _________ and ADA Ganga said they had good cooperation with their Peruvian counterparts, but little success in establishing relationships or promoting cooperation with Bolivian authorities. __________ stated much of the problem is simply that the Bolivians tend not to stay in their positions for very long, making it difficult to create good working relationships. For his part, Intendente Rocafull expressed doubts about the efficacy of Peruvian law enforcement, noting the Arican police seize 10 times more drugs than their Tacnan peers. 8. (SBU) Comment: Several interlocutors commented that relations between local government officials and communities in northern Chile and southern Peru are often quite distinct--and more consistently friendly--than the sometimes tense relationship between Lima and Santiago. While there are substantial trade and links between indigenous communities in northern Chile and western Bolivia, human resource challenges seem to limit the effective cooperation between local governments in these areas. _______ and __________' misperceptions about plans for Arica's defense shed light on the lack of connection and support from Santiago that some Aricans feel End Comment. SIMONS =======================CABLE ENDS============================ id: 139497 date: 1/31/2008 15:32 refid: 08LIMA177 origin: Embassy Lima classification: CONFIDENTIAL destination: 08LIMA72|08SANTIAGO77 header: VZCZCXYZ0000 PP RUEHWEB DE RUEHPE #0177/01 0311532 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 311532Z JAN 08 FM AMEMBASSY LIMA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7790 INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 1905 RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 5461 RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7744 RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 3261 RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1025 RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JAN 4720 RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 9424 RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 1717 RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO PRIORITY 1718 RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL PRIORITY ----------------- header ends ---------------- C O N F I D E N T I A L LIMA 000177 SIPDIS SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PINR, CI, PE SUBJECT: TAKING THE MARITIME DISPUTE TO THE HAGUE: PERU'S PERSPECTIVE REF: A. LIMA 072 B. SANTIAGO 077 Classified By: POL/C ALEXIS LUDWIG FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) 1. (C) Summary: The GOP continues to emphasize that its decision to take Peru's maritime border dispute with Chile to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague should be seen not as an unfriendly act but rather as an effort to resolve an impediment to broader integration. A prominent local analyst explained that the Hague process was initiated by former President Toledo's government and could not have been easily derailed by Garcia. Chilean Political Counselor told us his government knew the Hague submission was coming but that it contradicted President Garcia's earlier assurances to President Bachelet that pursuing the maritime dispute would not be a priority. While confident about its legal position, the GOC was concerned the ICJ could rule, at least partially, in Peru's favor. For its part, the GOP hopes that Chile and Peru can get back to building better relations once the noise dies down. End Summary. Peru Hopes To Continue Improving Relations ------------------------------------------ 2. (C) What the GOP has told us privately mirrors the message government officials have repeatedly stated in public: Peru hopes to leave its maritime dispute with Chile in the apolitical channel of the International Court of Justice in The Hague while the two countries continue to build bilateral confidence and cooperation. Foreign Minister Jose Garcia Belaunde has publicly reiterated that Chile should not view submission of the case as an unfriendly act, but rather as an effort to amicably resolve a longstanding bilateral irritant. Jaime Sparks, Chile desk officer at Peru's Foreign Ministry, commented to Poloff that the loud media reaction of both countries was expected but would probably soon fade, just as it did after the GOP published the new maritime border map in August 2007. He also hoped the tit-for-tat rhetoric -- including Vice President Gampietri's criticism of Chile's decision to delay fast-track consideration of their bilateral trade agreement -- would not escalate. 3. (C) A prominent local foreign policy analyst, Alejandro Deustua, told poloffs that Peru's maritime claim was long-standing, legally justified, and broadly supported. (A recent El Comercio poll stated that 99% of Peruvians supported taking the claim to the Hague.) Deustua underscored that Peru's repeated requests to discuss the maritime border, dating back to 1986, have been routinely ignored because Chile believed the issue was settled by agreements in 1952 and 1954. Deustua added that the decision to prepare a legal case for submission to the ICJ in The Hague was taken in 2005 by President Toledo and that, since taking office, President Garcia had striven to lower the temperature of what has been a hugely sensitive and volatile issue in Peru. Ironically, given the heated reaction from Chile, many Peruvian political actors had criticized President Garcia for deemphasizing and slowing down the process instead of publicly championing it. Perspective From the Chilean Embassy ------------------------------------ 4. (C) Chile's Political Counselor in Lima Ricardo Rojas confirmed to us that the Peruvians had informed his Embassy and his government at every level and at every stage in the process about their plans to submit the case to the ICJ. In that sense, the GOC was not surprised or blindsided by Peru's submission. At the same time, however, during a visit to Chile as president-elect, Garcia had assured Bachelet that pursuing the maritime dispute would not be a priority issue for his government, and that the GOC felt "betrayed" by the apparent shift. Rojas said that his government had to publicly voice its opposition to the GOP's actions, but predicted that the furor would soon die down. (Note: Chile's Ambassador to Peru Christian Barros, who was called back to Santiago for consultations after the GOP submitted its paperwork in The Hague, has since returned to Lima. End Comment.) 5. (C) Rojas added that his government had become more concerned that the Hague could grant concessions to Peru after a unanimous Court decision in December to adjudicate a similar maritime dispute between Colombia and Nicaragua. That decision could effectively invalidate a bilateral agreement demarcating the territory, according to Rojas, on the grounds that only a full treaty can make such demarcations. Rojas feared this argument would provide a small window for Peru's contention that the 1952 and 1954 fishing accords were not legally sufficient to settle the boundary. Rojas said they were less concerned about an October ruling regarding a Honduras-Nicaragua boundary dispute (ref A). Comment: -------- 6. (C) The Garcia Government has placed a high priority on improving its relations with Chile. But this necessarily means overcoming (or sidestepping) a series of emotionally and politically charged issues and focusing on pragmatic interests such as broader commercial and security integration. One of the thorniest obstacles to this larger goal, in terms of its potential effect on domestic politics, is Peru's maritime border claim with Chile. Whatever its legal merits (there appear to be compelling arguments on both sides), in submitting its legal brief to the ICJ the GOP hopes to let the process play itself out quietly, impartially and without reference to internal (Peruvian or Chilean) politics. Once the predictable bilateral uproar subsides, the hope here is that Peru and Chile can get on with their real business. NEALON =======================CABLE ENDS============================ id: 138753 date: 1/25/2008 17:03 refid: 08SANTIAGO77 origin: Embassy Santiago classification: CONFIDENTIAL destination: 08LIMA72|08SANTIAGO36|08SANTIAGO54 header: VZCZCXYZ0011 PP RUEHWEB DE RUEHSG #0077/01 0251703 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 251703Z JAN 08 FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2693 INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 3305 RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 1928 RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 0152 RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 0765 RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1649 RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JAN 5651 RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 5425 RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 1207 RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 3904 RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY ----------------- header ends ---------------- C O N F I D E N T I A L SANTIAGO 000077 SIPDIS SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA/BSC E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/23/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, CI, PE SUBJECT: CHILEAN REACTION TO PERU'S SUBMISSION TO THE HAGUE ON MARITIME ISSUE REF: A. SANTIAGO 00054 B. SANTIAGO 00036 C. LIMA 00072 Classified By: EPOL Counselor Juan A. Alsace. Reasons: 1.4 (B and D). 1. (C) Summary: The Chilean government categorically rejects Peru's maritime claim and has vowed to use all available legal resources to defeat it. In public, the GOC is taking the moral high ground: it has expressed its "profound regret" at Peru's decision and pledged continued cooperation with Peru. Privately, Chileans are livid that Peru has escalated the issue politically and argue that future cooperation will be difficult. The Chilean government is confident in its legal case, but believes "anything can happen" at The Hague. Chileans have expressed their support for the Bachelet government's position and thus far the issue has not become a domestic political one. End summary. 2. (U) The Chilean government officially responded immediately to Peru's announcement that it had submitted its maritime dispute to The Hague along familiar lines: --The Chilean government profoundly regrets Peru's submission to The Hague, since such submission disregards existing valid agreements between the two countries and practice observed by both countries for years; --Peru's demands refer to areas that without question are under Chilean sovereignty and jurisdiction. Chile will utilize all of the available legal resources to respond to this demand; and, --The Chilean government will try to ensure that relations with Peru continue along the lines of mutual cooperation and understanding. (Note: This official position, as reported in a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on January 16, tracks closely with the private position outlined in a non-paper that MFA Director General for External Relations Carlos Portales delivered to U/S Burns in March 2007 during their meeting in Washington, D.C. Portales gave the Ambassador a similar paper on January 14 - ref. A) 3. (C) Publicly, Chileans across the political spectrum have denounced Peru's action and rallied behind the government. In anticipation of Peru's move, the Bachelet administration took several steps to build such support. For example, it established a Chilean legal and diplomatic team led by Foreign Minister Foxley that includes Deputy FM Alberto van Klaveren (agent before The Hague) and several senior Chilean diplomats. It also contracted several foreign legal experts. To further shore up domestic support, the GOC assembled a group of former Chilean foreign ministers (including those who served during the Pinochet era) to advise the Foreign Ministry on the issue. In the days leading up to Peru's submission, Foreign Minister Foxley met with the ex-foreign ministers, members of Congress, political figures, and leading business groups to brief on Chile's position, and to solicit their support. In each meeting, Foxley specifically stressed the importance of maintaining a single, unified Chilean position and of keeping the issue in legal channels, according to his chief of staff, Roberto Matus. Given that Chileans have been united on the issue for some time, obtaining consensus thus far has not been difficult. He also encouraged the Chileans to make public statements supporting the Chilean government's position and to pledge not to use the issue for "political gain" in Chile as the country moves further into campaign season. So far, Foxley's efforts have been successful. Concertacion coalition, opposition and business figures have publicly backed the government and endorsed a single Chilean foreign policy under the leadership of the Foreign Ministry. And the issue has not become a political one here. But while Foreign Ministry officials are breathing a sigh of relief, they caution that there is a lot of time between now and the 2009 elections for the center-right opposition to use the issue for its political gain. 4. (C) Privately, Chilean government officials are livid that Peru decided to "escalate the matter politically." Senior officials including Chile's Ambassador to the U.S. Fernandez and MFA DG for External Relations Portales contend that Peru remains trapped in the past and unable to look to the future. They argue that the Bachelet administration has gone out of its way to support the Garcia administration on several fronts, including the economic (U.S.-Peru FTA, APEC and the P4) and defense (resumption of two-plus-two meetings, confidence-building measures between militaries). And this is what Chile gets in return? 5. (C) For the GOC, there is no maritime border issue, since past agreements signed by Chile and Peru resolved the issue. The Chileans say their legal case is strong, but as former Army Chief of Staff Cheyre recently cautioned, victory is far from certain and "anything can happen" at The Hague. 6. (C) Senior GOC officials stop short of saying that Peru's submission to The Hague has prompted the Chileans to cease cooperation. However, they are clear that Chileans "need to be realistic in light of Peru's latest actions," according to the MFA's Portales, who noted to the Ambassador recently, "It is going to be very difficult for us to help Peru under these circumstances." Under Secretary of War Gonzalo Garcia told the Ambassador on January 23 that he doubted Chile and Peru would hold "two-plus-two" (foreign and defense ministers) meetings any time soon. 7. (C) Not all Chileans, however, have been supportive of Chile's overtures to Peru. Prominent Chilean businessman Andronico Luksic, whose family businesses lost nearly 200 million dollars in business disputes in Peru during the Lagos administration, questioned the Chilean government's support for Garcia during a recent dinner hosted by the Ambassador in honor of visiting USSOUTHCOM CDR Stavridis. Luksic's main point -- one that is shared by many Chileans including Foreign Ministry careerists who have served in Lima -- is that Peru is unreliable and Chile should remain firm against it. 8. (C) Comment: Peru's decision to take its dispute to The Hague did not surprise the Chilean government, which had prepared the Chilean public for such an eventuality for months. FM Foxley's around-the-clock meetings, the appointment of a bipartisan advisory committee of ex-foreign ministers, and the assembly of outside legal counsel all point to a government that had resigned itself that Peru would go forward. So far, the GOC's groundwork appears to have paid off domestically: Chileans across the political spectrum are publicly backing the government and thus far have refrained from using the issue for domestic political gain. 9. (C) Strong Chilean nationalist sentiment about attempts to redraw borders and frustration at what it sees as Peru's insistence on living in the past will not go away any time soon. The Chileans will not "bend over backwards" to cooperate with the Garcia administration. However, once the dust settles, Chile's interest in a stable and economically sound, outward-looking Peru will prevail. While the GOC may not actively seek out opportunities for cooperation, it likely will continue to pursue policies that can contribute to a positive agenda that looks to the future. Meanwhile, and despite the views of some Chilean businesspeople such as Luksic, Chile's growing private sector linkages with Peru are not likely to be affected by these developments. SIMONS =======================CABLE ENDS============================