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  • President Evo Morales. Tensions between Bolivia and Chile has existed for decades over access to the Pacific Coast.

    President Evo Morales. Tensions between Bolivia and Chile has existed for decades over access to the Pacific Coast. | Photo: AFP

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President Evo Morales is putting pressure on Chile for coastal access, saying Pope Francis has expressed an interest in Bolivia's plight.

Chile rejected Bolivia's renewed request for sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean off of its coast Tuesday. 

“Chile is not going to cede land or maritime sovereignty in any way, and that has to be clear,” Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz told Radio DNA. “Bolivia is wasting its time when it tries to promote an event which aims to force Chile to negotiate a sovereign outlet.” 

The foreign minister's warnings refer specifically to comments by Bolivian President Evo Morales who said Pope Francis had taken an interest in the issue and had requested more information. 

“The pope asked me for documents, so I supplied him with documents,” said Morales. 

However, Muñoz confirmed that Chile will not accept any kind of external mediation on the matter and emphasized that the country would never give up its territory to another nation. 

The matter is currently being reviewed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague, Netherlands, after Bolivia presented the court with its demand for sovereign access to the coast in 2013.

Last July Chile objected to the ICJ's involvement, saying the court was incompetent in judging the request.Bolivia responded by making another bid to the international body in November. 

Tensions have existed between Bolivia and Chile over access to the Pacific Ocean for decades after Bolivia lost its coast to Chile in the War of the Pacific in 1879, making it a landlocked country. 

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Bolivia already has access to the sea via free ports in Arica and Antofagasta in the north of Chile. Bolivia needs to tell the truth especially to the pope!!!!
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