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Chile, Argentina announce Beagle Channel settlement

Chile and Argentina announced Friday the terms of a draft settlement of their century-old territorial dispute over the Beagle Channel, which the two countries nearly fought a war over five years ago.

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The treaty would grant Chile sovereignty over three small islands, Lenox, Picton, and Nueva, located at the eastern entrance to the channel. In return, Chile would renounce any projection into the Atlantic Ocean from the eastern outlet of the Magellan Straits.

The accord, which both parties accepted in Rome last week, must be ratified by the Argentine congress and by that country's voters in a referendum, and must be approved by the Chilean junta. It ends nearly six years of mediation by the Vatican.