Bilateral tensions between the Spanish and Colombian governments over the estimated multi-billion dollar treasure from the sunken galleon San José eased Monday after a meeting in Madrid between the foreign ministers of both nations.

Wreckage of the San José galleon. (Courtesy MinCultura)
Wreckage of the San José galleon. (Courtesy MinCultura)

Colombian Chancellor María Angela Holguín met with her counterpart, José Manuel García-Margallo, to work out details for the construction of a museum which will house the priceless antiquities recovered from the ocean floor.

According to Holguín, the museum would allow the general public to appreciate “a part of history part so important to both nations.”

In turn, García-Margallo reiterated his country’s willingness to cooperate with Colombia and respect the rights of both parties as the ultimate goal is to showcase this “heritage of all humanity.”

García-Margallo stated during the press conference that both countries still have differences over the galleon’s future, but will continue to find a resolution when they meet during the next Iberoamerican Summit in Madrid.

Spain insists that their 17th century insignia state vessel warrants United Nations protection. Colombia meanwhile has not signed any international conventions on these issues, and as the galleon was located last November in territorial waters southwest of the port of Cartagena, insists the up to $17 billion in gold and precious gems must remain at home.

The San José sank in 1708 during a naval battle with a British squadron commanded by Charles Wager. The San José exploded losing its cargo and crew to the depths of the sea.