Meeting on Wednesday at the La Moneda presidential palace in Santiago, Chile, Presidents Sebastián Piñera of Chile and Alan García of Peru agreed to respect the ruling of the International Court of Justice regarding their dispute over maritime borders and to focus on greater economic integration. Appearing before reporters in a lengthy meeting and treating each other as friends, the leaders said their two nations are currently experiencing their “best period” in bilateral relations and that the lawsuit must not hinder their achievement of common goals, such as economic development and the protection of natural resources.
Piñera’s stance of separating the maritime dispute from the rest of Chile’s relations with Peru signals a departure from predecessor Michelle Bachelet’s approach. For his part, García praised Chile’s economic model and pointed out Peru’s own 9 percent growth and 2 percent inflation in 2010. Both he and Piñera said competition between the two countries on economic development and employment generation served as a healthy incentive for growth.
Economic partnership featured heavily in the meeting between the two leaders. Chile, whose investors have poured $9 billion into Peru since 1990, is the latter’s largest foreign investor and third-largest trading partner, after the United States and China. In 2010, trade between Chile and Peru reached $3 billion, up nearly 50 percent from the previous year. President Garcia said he was confident the economic alliance with Chile would have “enormous significance” for gross domestic product growth and employment generation in both countries.
Also during the meeting, the two heads of state signed a memorandum of understanding to carry out anti-drug measures and a second one to implement an integrated control policy for border traffic.