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Honduras and Nicaragua
Roberto Flores Bermudez and Eduardo Montealegre, Foreign Ministers of Honduras and Nicaragua after signing a confidence-building agreement brokered by the OAS Assistant Secretary General in 2001.
In December 1999, at the request of the governments of Honduras and Nicaragua, the OAS Permanent Council convened a special session to address tensions that had arisen due to a maritime boundary dispute. The Permanent Council called on the Secretary General to name a special representative to “evaluate the situation, facilitate dialogue, and formulate recommendations aimed at easing tension and preventing acts that could affect peace in the hemisphere” (see the Resolution).

In the ensuing months, the Secretary General´s Special Representative held four rounds of talks with Honduran Foreign Minister Roberto Flores Bermúdez and his Nicaraguan counterpart, Eduardo Montealegre Rivas. Working with the OAS envoy, Honduras and Nicaragua signed a series of agreements to ensure peaceful relations while the substance of their boundary dispute was sent to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. In March 2000, the two Foreign Ministers signed a memorandum of understanding detailing specific measures that covered such matters as maintaining communications between the two countries’ armed forces, restricting military activities along the border and conducting combined patrols in the Caribbean Sea.

In late February 2001 tensions resurfaced around claims and counter-claims of violations of the confidence-building measures. In order to address the mounting tension, a meeting was held at OAS headquarters on March 16, 2001, between the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS and the Vice-Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Honduras and Nicaragua. A Technical Verification Agreement, developed during those talks, more clearly defined existing confidence-building measures and established additional measures to reduce tensions between the two countries. Through the Agreement, Honduras and Nicaragua invited third countries to provide technical experts, who, acting under the auspices of the Organization, and with the support of the General Secretariat, would verify Honduran and Nicaraguan compliance with the agreements reached. In this connection, the Parties, through a joint letter addressed to the Secretary General, requested that the General Secretariat verify compliance of eight specific confidence-building measures.

On the basis of the Technical Verification Agreement, the General Secretariat, working with the parties, devised a concrete plan to verify two of the points contained in the letter from the vice ministers. These two points centered around verifying the location and composition of the military and police posts along the land frontier, and in the Caribbean Sea (the number and composition of the military and police posts along the land border and in the Caribbean Sea had been frozen at their September 1, 1999 levels by the San Salvador and Washington Agreements of 1999, and 2000, respectively).

An Agreement for an OAS International Verification Mission was signed by the parties and the General Secretariat on June 7, 2001, which provided the OAS Mission with two objectives: the first was to “verify the number and location of military and police posts along the land border, and the number of personnel assigned to each post”, and the second was to “verify that the military and police posts in the Caribbean Sea were being kept at the same level as on September 1, 1999.”

OAS Verification Mission of all military and police posts along the Honduras-Nicaragua border 2001
Over the summer and fall of 2001, the OAS Mission, which was composed of Advisors to the Assistant Secretary General as well as experts in military affairs provided by the Governments of Argentina and Brazil, undertook two visits to the land border and one visit to the Caribbean Sea. The Mission was entirely financed by the Fund for Peace. During the first visit, July 16-23, 2001, the OAS Mission verified the border posts along the western-half of the land border. On the second trip, August 15-21, 2001, the OAS Mission verified the military and police posts in the Caribbean Sea. During the third visit, October 14-18, 2001, the Mission verified the border posts along the eastern-half of the land border.

At a ceremony at OAS Headquarters on December 19, 2001, the Secretary General and Assistant Secretary General presented the Report of the OAS Mission to Foreign Ministers Roberto Flores Bermúdez and Francisco Aguirre Sacasa, of Honduras and Nicaragua, respectively. The report stated that at all of the posts visited along the land border, the personnel, armaments, and communications equipment, were in keeping with the functions and responsibilities of surveillance and patrol which are part of the work of all police or military border posts. The report further concluded that the military and police posts on both sides of the border did not represent a threat to peace or an indication of increased military presence in the border area.

In addition to receiving the report from the General Secretariat, the two Foreign Ministers also signed an Agreement for a Bi-national Border Development Plan, and an Agreement on Police Cooperation and Military Movement Notification. These two agreements, along with the results of the Verification Mission, were key elements in the Organization’s efforts to improve relations between Honduras and Nicaragua.

On October 8, 2007, the International Court of Justice made a ruling in this case, which was accepted by both countries, putting an end to this long-time dispute.
OAS Verification Mission Honduras-Nicaragua border 2001
Speeches

CÉSAR GAVIRIA TRUJILLO, SECRETARIO GENERAL DE LA ORGANIZACION DE LOS ESTADOS AMERICANOS DURANTE LA PRESENTACION DEL INFORME FINAL DE LA OEA EN LA CONTROVERSIA FRONTERIZA ENTRE HONDURAS Y NICARAGUA
19 de diciembre de 2001 - Washington, DC
(Only available in spanish)

Reports to the Permanent Council:

Technical Report of the OAS International Verification Mission to Honduras and Nicaragua, (Report presented to the Permanent Council on January 16, 2002).
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Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary General in Compliance with Resolution CP/RES.757 (1216/99) "SUPPORT FOR THE GOVERNMENTS OF HONDURAS AND NICARAGUA", (Report presented January 19, 2000).
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Agreements Brokered by the Assistant Secretary General:

Honduras-Nicaragua Border Cooperation and Development Agreement, December 19, 2001 (Spanish only).
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Honduras-Nicaragua Police Cooperation and Military Movement Notification Agreement, December 19, 2001 (Spanish only).
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Technical Agreement on Verification, March 16, 2001 (Spanish only).
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Letter from the Vice-Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Honduras and Nicaragua to the Secretary General of the OAS, March 16, 2001 (Spanish only).
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Agreements Brokered by the OAS Special Representative:

Memorandum of Understanding of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Honduras and Nicaragua and of the OAS Special Representative, March 7, 2000 (Spanish only).
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Communiqué of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Honduras and Nicaragua and of the OAS Special Representative, February 7, 2000.
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Communiqué of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Honduras and Nicaragua and of the OAS Special Representative, December 30, 1999.
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Other Related Agreements:

Presidential Declaration of Pochomil, March 30, 2001 (Spanish only).
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Action by OAS Member States:

OAS Permanent Council Resolution CP/RES.757 (1216/99), "Support for the Governments of Honduras and Nicaragua", December 7, 1999.
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Minutes of the Special Session of the Permanent Council, held December 7, 1999 (multilingual)
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Minutes of the Special Session of the Permanent Council, held December 6, 1999 (multilingual)
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Press Releases


Gaviria destaca "trascendencia" del acuerdo entre Honduras y Nicaragua, 8 de marzo de 2000 508K download

Honduras y Nicaragua Firman Acuerdo, 7 de marzo de 2000 508K download

Cancilleres de Honduras y Nicaragua se Reunirán en la OEA, 3 de marzo de 2000 508K download

COMUNICADO DE PRENSA DEL SECRETARIO GENERAL DE LA ORGANIZACION DE LOS ESTADOS AMERICANOS, CESAR GAVIRIA, 29 de febrero de 2000 508K download

Honduras y Nicaragua Establecen Régimen de Exclusión Militar, 7 de febrero de 2000 508K download

REPRESENTANTE ESPECIAL DE LA OEA INFORMA SOBRE AVANCES EN LAS CONVERSACIONES ENTRE HONDURAS Y NICARAGUA, 19 de enero de 2000 508K download

Representante Especial de la OEA Sostiene Segunda Ronda de Conversaciones con Honduras y Nicaragua, 12 de enero de 2000 508K download

Representante Especial de la OEA se reúne con Cancilleres de Honduras y Nicaragua, 30 de diciembre de 1999 508K download

CANCILLERES DE HONDURAS Y NICARAGUA SE REUNIARAN CON EL REPRESENTANTE ESPECIAL DE LA OEA, 20 de diciembre de 1999 508K download

LUIGI EINAUDI SOSTIENE REUNIONES CON REPRESENTANTES DE HONDURAS Y NICARAGUA, 10 de diciembre de 1999 508K download

OEA Designa Representante Especial para Honduras y Nicaragua, 9 de diciembre de 1999 (Only available in spanish) 508K download

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