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Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:54 PM

U.N. court ruling expands Nicaragua's offshore rights

U.N. court ruling expands Nicaragua's offshore rights
11:18 a.m. EST, November 19, 2012

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The International Court of Justice said on Monday a cluster of disputed islets in the western Caribbean belonged to Colombia and not to Nicaragua, but drew a demarcation line that expands Nicaragua's economic exclusion zone in the Caribbean.

The court said the territorial waters extending out from the seven islets, which are nearer Nicaragua's coast than Colombia's, should not cut into Nicaragua's continental shelf.

The ruling increases the size of Nicaragua's continental shelf and economic exclusion zone in the Caribbean, potentially giving it access to underwater oil and gas deposits as well as mining and fishing rights.

"The court agrees that the achievement of an equitable solution requires a line of delimitation to allow the parties to attain their maritime rights in a mutually balanced way," said Peter Tomka, presiding judge.


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