Peru has filed a lawsuit with the World Court, asking the U.N.'s highest judicial body to settle a long-simmering maritime border dispute with Chile.

Former Peruvian Defense Minister Allan Wagner presented the claim Wednesday before the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Peruvian President Alan Garcia, in turn, appeared before his nation's Congress to explain the petition.

Chilean Foreign Minister Alejandro Foxley reacted angrily to the filing, saying it disregards a decades-old border treaty between the two countries.

Peru has long claimed the area near the Chilean port of Arica. It says the limits at sea between the two countries have never been defined.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet says treaties signed in 1952 and 1954 clearly define the disputed area as Chilean territory.

The two countries have feuded over the area since Chile seized a portion of Peru in an 1879 war.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.