Press Release E-047/00
March 8, 2000

OAS Secretary General Highlights Importance of Honduras-Nicaragua Accord

OAS Secretary General C�sar Gaviria today stressed the importance of the agreement signed yesterday between Honduras and Nicaragua, saying it will ensure that the two countries avoid the risk of confrontation.

The procedures established in the March 7 memorandum of understanding "practically eliminate the possibility of any type of military confrontation between the two countries," Gaviria said. He praised the governments and peoples of Nicaragua and Honduras for reaching agreement on measures to maintain peace.

The Foreign Ministers of Honduras and Nicaragua, Roberto Flores Berm�dez and Eduardo Montealegre Rivas, held four rounds of talks to develop a series of confidence-building measures. Luigi Einaudi, Special Representative to Secretary General Gaviria, brokered the talks, which began in December after tensions rose over the two countries� maritime boundary dispute in the Caribbean Sea. The substance of the boundary issue will be decided by the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

In a brief presentation today to the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States, Einaudi said the agreements reached yesterday and in previous meetings with the foreign ministers go well beyond good intentions and include practical measures, such as combined patrol mechanisms and freezing of military levels. Einaudi thanked the OAS member countries for their financial and diplomatic support, which he said has "made it possible to spin the web of regional and international support."

Nicaragua�s Ambassador to the OAS, Alvaro Sevilla, said the agreements contribute to true peace in the region and represent "another step in the reduction of tensions and another measure of confidence between both countries."

Ambassador Laura N��ez of Honduras emphasized the importance of regional integration and on behalf of her government exhorted all Central American countries to do their part "to secure peace for the region and to consolidate the progress that has been made toward political and economic integration."

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