Costa Rica sending police to border dispute area

Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla said Wednesday she will send police with special training to a disputed area on the border with Nicaragua where Nicaraguan soldiers have set up a post.

Chinchilla's made her comment during a ceremony marking the 62nd anniversary of the disbanding of the Costa Rican army.

The Central American country relies only on police for security and public order, and Chinchilla said the special police will be based near the spot on the San Juan border river where Nicaragua sent troops last month, igniting their latest dispute.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega says the soldiers are there to stop drug smuggling and denies they are on Costa Rican territory.

The river has been a source of disputes for nearly two centuries. Last year, the International Court of Justice set travel rules for the San Juan, affirming freedom for Costa Rican craft to navigate the waterway while upholding Nicaragua's right to regulate traffic.

The latest argument stems from a Nicaraguan dredging project. Costa Rica objected to the plan when it was announced last year.

Costa Rica has taken its complaint to the International Court of Justice, which is set to hold a hearing on the case in January. The issue will also be discussed next week during a meeting of foreign ministers at the Organization of American States.