Pope John Paul has called on Chile and Argentina to create a demilitarised 'zone of peace' in a disputed frontier area.
GV Vatican City
SV Argentine Foreign Minister Carlos Washington Pastor arrives at Vatican and is greeted by officials
CU Vatican guard
CU Argentinian Foreign Minister posing for photographers and entering Vatican
GV ZOOM TO Chiliean Foreign Minister Rene Rojas Galdames leaves car and is greeted by Vatican officials (2 shots)
LV INTERIOR Pope John Paul greets cardinals and foreign ministers
SV Chilean delegation seated
GV Pope John Paul speaking in Spanish thanking delegates from Argentina and Chile
SV Argentine delegation seated
GV Pope John paul presents foreign ministers with documents
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Background: Pope John Paul has called on Chile and Argentina to create a demilitarised 'zone of peace' in a disputed frontier area. He met yesterday (12 December) with foreign ministers from the two countries.
SYNOPSIS: The Vatican was called upon to mediate in the dispute over the Beagle Channel -- a controversy dating back one hundred years. Yesterday (12 December), the Argentine Foreign Minister, Carlos Washington Pastor, arrived in Rome to meet with the Pope and his Chilean counterpart. Argentina has disputed in 1977 International Committee of Jurists ruling which awarded the channel and three islands to Chile. Indeed both countries nearly went to war two years ago over the disagreement.
Chile's Foreign Minister Rene Rojas Galdames sees the Beagle Channel dispute as his country's most serious and longstanding border problem. In 1980, both nations first tried to establish a border along the channel. In 1902, Chile and Argentina nearly went to war, but, with Britain as a mediator, a temporary settlement was found. After the 1977 ruling failed to please, both sides turned to the Vatican. For Pope John Paul, this has proved to be one of his most difficult diplomatic efforts. Vatican, Chilean and Argentine officials have crossed and recrossed the Atlantic and the Pope has now made his 'zone and peace' proposal.
The Pope has asked the two governments to consider his plan and to reply between Christmas and the Feast of Epiphany on January the sixth. His proposals, bound in red leather, were handed to both delegations.