Costa Rica seeks data on environmental claim

In a letter to Nicaraguan officials Tuesday, Enrique Castillo, Costa Rica’s foreign minster, said a road along the northern border has no effect on Nicaraguan territory. The alleged environmental damages were done because Costa Rica has been forced to build there as a result of the actions of the Nicaraguans, he said. However, he expressed Costa Rica´s willingness to hear what Nicaraguan officials has to say about it.

¨The government of Costa Rica, in order to maintain a policy of good neighborliness and to ensure the protection of the environment, and in compliance with agreements on this matter, is willing to listen to the concerns of Nicaragua on the construction,¨ Castillo said.

He then invited the Nicaraguan government to formally explain why the construction might be considered environmental damage or affect the interests of Nicaragua. Nicaraguan officials made the allegation of environmental damage last week.

¨Costa Rica asks for objective, scientific information and will check the claims by Nicaragua,¨ Castillo said. ¨In the same spirit that my country expects the same attitude of the Nicaraguan government in the execution of works that may affect the territory of Costa Rica.¨

Costa Rica is in the best position to accept facilitation provided by the Governments of Guatemala and Mexico in the discussion and analysis of common environmental issues, Castillo said. He also said that the Nicaraguan government should be responsible for its actions in relation to current projects and future projects in the border area.

Costa Rica is building the road to provide faster transportation along the northern border, which is the south bank of the Río San Juan. Nicaragua owns the river under various treaties, and restricts the use Costa Rica can make of it.

The area is the site of an International Court of Justice case where Costa Rica claims Nicaragua invaded the country’s soil. That case will be heard next month.

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