Chile and Bolivia are set to open the first ever border between the two countries, with the countries agreeing on a deal to reopen the border to travelers and tourists in 2021.
“We have reached a new level of cooperation with Chile, and I think it will be an economic success for the two economies,” Foreign Minister Guillermo Barros told reporters in Santiago, where the talks took place on Wednesday.
He said the agreement would also open up new opportunities for tourists, with Bolivia to be the first country to establish a border checkpoint and to open up a hotel and retail area.
The two countries had signed a memorandum of understanding in March, allowing the opening of a border crossing, hotel and airport in each other’s territory.
The agreement was signed in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and will be formally ratified by the Chilean government on Wednesday, Barros said.
“This is the first time that we will be able to establish the border with Chile,” Barros added.
The pact was signed as tensions between the countries rose over the border dispute.
In January, the Chilean military moved to evict hundreds of thousands of indigenous people, many of whom live in Cochaboras traditional territories, from the northern border in response to the government’s refusal to let them cross the border.
A group of indigenous rights activists in Cochabias territory had gathered outside the border and protested against the soldiers, accusing them of brutalising the indigenous people.