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Press Release


  April 30, 2003

The OAS Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Luigi R. Einaudi, announced today the appointment of Mr. John Gates as a technical expert to facilitate the demarcation of the border between El Salvador and Honduras.

On April 11, the Assistant Secretary General informed the two governments that a technical expert would be appointed to help resolve problems encountered by the Special El Salvador-Honduras Border Demarcation Commission. This would be done exclusively on engineering problems, for example, when the geodesic coordinates referred to in the judgment of the International Court of Justice do not correspond to the geographic features mentioned in the same document.

Mr. Gates has worked for the U.S. Government for more than 20 years as a geodesic and cartography expert. He has vast experience in Latin America and has held posts in Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama. He was a key member of the technical and legal experts group that drew up the proposal for delimiting the border between Peru and Ecuador, which was accepted and implemented by the two countries as part of their efforts to solve their longstanding territorial dispute.

Mr. Gates will perform his current task as an expert of the Pan American Institute of Geography and History, a specialized organ of the Organization of American States. He will meet with the members of the Special El Salvador-Honduras Border Demarcation Commission on May 5 to begin his work.

In 1992, the International Court of Justice issued a ruling regarding the border between El Salvador and Honduras. In September of last year, the Presidents of El Salvador, Francisco Flores, and Honduras, Ricardo Maduro, pledged to complete the demarcation of their border within 18 months.

Reference: E-095/03