Sunday, May 28, 2006

Nicaragua complains about border 'militarization' by Costa Rica, which has no army

Nicaraguan President Enrique BolanosNicaragua on Saturday objected to supposed plans by neighboring Costa Rica to "militarize" the border between the two nations though Costa Rica has no army.

Nicaragua's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it "views with great concern" a Costa Rican proposal to strengthen security in the region. It claimed that Costa Rican Security Minister Fernando Berrocal had talked of "militarizing the border."

Berrocal had proposed a creating a small, specialized police force for the border zones. Costa Rica abolished its army in 1948.

The tension echoed concerns expressed by Mexico earlier this month after the U.S. government said it would send National Guard troops to help secure its southern border.

The two Central American countries have been engaged in a lengthy dispute over navigation and other rights along the San Juan River border. During a flare-up in tensions last September, Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos ordered his own country's army to increase its vigilance of the border.

Nicaragua's Foreign Ministry said it respected other nations' right to safeguard national security, but it would "remain vigilant" to prevent any abuses against Nicaraguan migrants.

Mexico adopted a similar stance regarding the United States, threatening to bring lawsuits if any U.S. National Guard units become directly involved in detaining migrants, reports AP.

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