Nicaragua to Dredge Border River with Costa Rica

Nicaragua will reroute a river on the border with Costa Rica that has been at the center of a lengthy dispute between the two Central American countries, the Nicaraguan government announced Tuesday.

Eden Pastora, president of the committee for development of the San Juan River, said the dredging project will begin at the end of September and cost $1 million.

"The goal is to recover the 1,700 cubic meters per second of water that was lost after Costa Rica rerouted it toward its Colorado River between 1945 and 1950," Pastora told The Associated Press.

For nearly two centuries, the San Juan River has been the source of disputes between the neighboring nations and of international intrigue over a potential canal route across the isthmus.

Costa Rica's foreign relations department said in a statement Tuesday that a ruling by an international court "forcefully denies Nicaragua's pretension that it has the right to dredge the San Juan River."

The United Nations' highest court last month set travel rules for the San Juan River, affirming freedom for Costa Rican boats to navigate the waterway while upholding Nicaragua's right to regulate traffic. The judgment ended a four-year legal battle.

Under an 1858 treaty, the entire river belongs to Nicaragua up to the Costa Rican bank, but Costa Rican ships have freedom of navigation for commerce.

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