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Costa Rica sues Nicaragua over alleged territory violation

SAN JOSE (Reuters) - Costa Rica's government said on Monday it has filed a complaint against Nicaragua at the International Court of Justice for establishing a military post on its territory, heightening the risk of renewed tensions between the two nations.

Costa Rican foreign minister Manuel Gonzalez said Nicaragua had occupied a beach on Isla Calero in northeastern Costa Rica in November 2016, a virtually uninhabited area where both countries have a historic border dispute.

"(Nicaragua) has installed a military post in a small strip of that Costa Rican territory. We took diplomatic steps ... so that they would remove it, which did not happen," Gonzalez said in a statement.

The government of Nicaragua did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Costa Rica hopes to incorporate the latest complaint into another filed in 2014 which asked the court at the Hague to define the maritime boundaries between the two countries in the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean.

A ruling by the court, the primary judicial branch of the United Nations, is expected by the beginning of 2018, Gonzalez said.

Costa Rica has also asked the court to define what compensation Nicaragua must pay after a separate ruling in December 2015 said that Nicaragua violated its neighbor's territory by establishing a military presence between 2010 and 2013 in the wetland area known as Isla Portillos, he added.

Despite a pledge by the Nicaraguan government of President Daniel Ortega to abide by the decision, the countries have not negotiated compensation, which Costa Rica estimates to be some $6.7 million, Gonzalez said.

(Reporting by Enrique Andres Pretel; Writing by Natalie Schachar; Editing by Bill Rigby)

 

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