Costa Rica gives transit visas to Cubans despite border row

Cubans from a group of 150 remain in a shelter in the town of La Cruz, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, near the border with Nicaragua on November 17, 2015 (AFP Photo/Ezequiel Becerra)

San José (AFP) - Costa Rica said Friday it will keep giving transit visas to US-bound Cuban migrants despite a border row over the issue with neighboring Nicaragua.

President Luis Guillermo Solis told reporters "we are not going to suspend the giving of transit visas," which he said was driven by "humanitarian" considerations and not wanting to see the Cubans fall prey to human smugglers.

Since last weekend, Nicaragua has been blocking Cubans with Costa Rican transit visas from crossing its border, accusing its southern neighbor of "violating" its sovereignty.

The tensions have been fueled by longstanding border territory disputes between the two Central American countries, one of which is expected to be ruled on within weeks by the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Foreign ministers from Central America, Cuba, Colombia and Ecuador are to meet in El Salvador next Tuesday to discuss a solution to a recent surge in the number of Cubans crossing through their territory in a bid to reach the United States.

Many Cubans fear that a US policy started in the Cold War to take them in might soon be scrapped because of warming Washington-Havana relations.

Nicaragua said the wife of President Daniel Ortega, Rosario Murillo, the government spokeswoman, will attend the El Salvador meeting.