Signing of an agreement delimiting the border between France and the Netherlands in the West Indies

France and the Netherlands signed on Friday (Saturday Paris time) a historic agreement delimiting the border between the two countries on the island of Saint-Martin (Antilles), which was the subject of dispute at its eastern end.

This agreement was signed for France by Gérald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior and Overseas, and for the Netherlands by Silveria E. Jacobs, Prime Minister of the autonomous government of Sint Maarten.

“This historic agreement will help facilitate the process of rebuilding the island, very severely affected by Hurricane Irma in 2017”, according to the press release from the French Ministry of the Interior.

It specifies “the course of the border while preserving the principle of free movement of goods and people established by the Concordia agreements of March 23, 1648”. Finally, this agreement “also establishes a joint monitoring commission responsible for monitoring and maintaining the border”.

According to Place Beauvau, it “illustrates the excellent relations of friendship uniting France and the Netherlands, wishing to strengthen their trusting cooperation on the island of Saint-Martin, as the shared will of the Territorial Council of Saint- Martin and the Autonomous Government of Sint Maarten to continue to develop their close ties and joint cross-border cooperation projects”.

Mr. Darmanin is accompanied by the Minister Delegate for Overseas Territories, Jean-François Carenco. The two members of the government must then go to Saint-Barthélémy, the other island in the north of the French West Indies.

The island of Saint-Martin is divided in two, with a French overseas community to the north and a state dependent on the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Sint Maarten, to the south. However, nothing materializes the border.

The signed agreement is supposed to clarify the separation at Oyster Pond, on the east coast of the island.

The marina of this marina was the subject of a sovereignty dispute because of the vagueness at this point of the border line linked to the Treaty of Concordia, signed between the French and the Dutch after the departure of the Spaniards.

Despite the creation at the end of 2017 of a Franco-Dutch steering committee to coordinate reconstruction efforts after Hurricane Irma, disagreements persisted over the management of the bay.

The border will now cross “the middle of the pond, thus giving an equal share of the water to both sides”, rejoiced the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, Silveria Jacobs.

The agreement “will make it possible to define our border precisely and clearly” while “while preserving the free movement established by the Treaty of Concordia”, also welcomed the president of the community of Saint-Martin, Louis Mussington.

The resolution of this territorial conflict “will pave the way for a long-awaited economic and urban revival” by the inhabitants of this territory with a high poverty rate, he estimated in a press release.

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