Bolivia Says Chile Base Poses Threat

Bolivia Says Chile Base Poses ThreatBolivia Says Chile Base Poses Threat

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has accused neighboring Chile of threatening his country by establishing a military base close to their border.

 Morales said the base about 15 km from the border was an act of aggression against Bolivia. He said international norms prohibited military installations within 50 km from shared frontiers.

Chile says it has stepped up military patrols but denies it has established a base, BBC reported.

The foreign ministry in Santiago said: “No such military installation exists. What has happened is that we have intensified military patrols in Chilean territory to stop attacks against civilians, robberies, contraband and drug trafficking coming from Bolivia.”

The statement said “the only military installation is in the area of Silala River on the Bolivian side only 1.5 km in a straight line from the frontier from Chile.

“Bolivia should answer for why it has a permanent military presence on the border.”

Both countries have been at loggerheads for years over access to the waters of the Silala River that rises in Bolivia but flows down the Andes into Chile.

President Morales said Bolivia would file a suit against Chile at the International Court of Justice over the issue of the river.

Bolivia says it owns the Silala spring in a border region and that it is not being compensated by Chile for the use of its waters. But Chile says it is an international waterway of shared use. Chile uses some of the river’s water for its mining operations in the Atacama Desert.

In 2013, La Paz took the century-old dispute with Chile over access to the Pacific Ocean to the court, which has yet to rule on the issue. Bolivia lost 400 km of coast to Chile in a 19th-century war and has been landlocked ever since.