Tuesday, July 20th 2010 - 03:25 UTC

Argentina/Uruguay towns celebrate first month with no pickets

The Argentine city of Gualeguaychú and Fray Bentos across the shared River Uruguay celebrated Monday the first month of the end to pickets that since 2006 had impeded traffic and trade across the international bridge linking the two neighbouring locations.

The San Martin bridge that links Gualeguaychú with Fray Bentos, next to the Botnia/UPM pulp mill

The pickets on the Argentine side were organized to protest the building on the Uruguayan side of the river, next to Fray Bentos, of the Botnia/UPM pulp mill one of the largest private sector investments in the country in decades.

Since the lifting of the pickets thousands have crossed both ways and transport and bus companies are beginning to normalize their schedules.

The so called ‘Gualeguaychú assembly” of residents and environmentalists argue that the pulp mill in spite of having been built to the highest European Union standards contaminates and is a threat for the regional water and air habitat.

This led to a prolonged, irritating diplomatic dispute between Argentina and Uruguay which ended only a few weeks ago when the International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled that given the current measurement parameters, the plant did not pollute but pointed to Uruguay for not having informed Argentina of the construction of the pulp mill, following on a statute for the joint management of the water course dating back to 1975.

The Court also recommended both countries agree on a joint monitoring of the River Uruguay which the two governments are in the process of elaborating.

With the open bridge business delegations from both sides met Sunday in Fray Bentos to re-launch relations and agreed to a second meeting in Argentina to decide on an agenda that includes cultural, sports and tourism activities.

Meantime in Montevideo late Monday it was announced that Foreign Affairs minister Luis Almagro will be travelling to Buenos Aires to meet with his counterpart Hector Timmerman to advance in the exchange of proposals for monitoring the River Uruguay.

According to the Argentine Foreign Affairs communiqué Timerman will propose a two stage approach: monitoring the Botnia/UPM plant and any possible consequences on the water course because of its activities, and in a second phase decide how to control and prevent contamination all along the River Uruguay which acts as a natural border between the two countries and is straddled with urban populations, factories and intensive farming.

The time table of the conflict stalled since 2006 found a way out on April 20 with the ruling from the International Court of Justice.

On June 2 presidents Jose Mujica and Cristina Kirchner agreed on a road map, and on June 19 the Gualeguaychú assembly ended pickets, --for two months--, waiting for actions from both governments.

On June 29, Timerman presented Uruguay the Argentine proposal for monitoring the river and on July 5 Uruguay responded. This week’s ministerial meeting should anticipate when and how the monitoring is going to take place.


34 comments Feed

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1 Think (#) Jul 20th, 2010 - 09:22 am Report abuse
Looking forward to the 1st Anniversary.
2 Liberty (#) Jul 20th, 2010 - 01:13 pm Report abuse
Here lies the problem to be solved: “ The Court also recommended both countries agree on a joint monitoring of the River Uruguay which the two governments are in the process of elaborating”.

Argentina wants to extend the monitoring inside the private plant w/ out monitoring their highly polluting industries at their side of the river. UPM (ex-Botnia) so far has not said a word regarding the argentinean proposal. The “piketeros” (self made “environmentalists”) are demanding the “inspection”. If negotiations don't go their way, they will block the bridge again.

Argentina is bulling the Uruguayan government w/out considering our sovereignty. UPM can deny access and their insane demands, similar to the Falklands.
3 fredbdc (#) Jul 20th, 2010 - 02:10 pm Report abuse
Blocking an International bridge is illegal. The Uruguayan courts should try Argentina, get damages then nationalize all the bank accounts and property held by Argentinians within Uruguay to pay for the damages. I bet even the threat would keep them from blocking the bridge next time.
4 Think (#) Jul 20th, 2010 - 03:23 pm Report abuse
In the meantime I can drive my old car to my simple “rancho” on the Uruguayan Coast and enjoy words best caipiriñas at “Lo de Pepe”!
5 Nicholas (#) Jul 20th, 2010 - 10:03 pm
Comment removed by the editor.
6 Think (#) Jul 20th, 2010 - 10:35 pm Report abuse
7 briton (#) Jul 20th, 2010 - 10:50 pm Report abuse
from argentina's point of view, is this a bridge to far ?
8 harrier61 (#) Jul 21st, 2010 - 07:10 am Report abuse
Argentina bullying again, despite having lost at the ICJ. Weasels!
9 Think (#) Jul 21st, 2010 - 08:12 am Report abuse
For those of you that missed this message in another thread:

“”” A little touristic message for all of you on the “Old Car” (min 6:30 - 6:45)
Enjoy “””
10 harrier61 (#) Jul 21st, 2010 - 08:56 am Report abuse
Argentina bullying again, despite having lost at the ICJ. Weasels!
11 Think (#) Jul 21st, 2010 - 09:26 am Report abuse
Sorry for the broken link...
Here is a working one....

12 harrier61 (#) Jul 21st, 2010 - 10:11 am Report abuse
Argentina bullying again, despite having lost at the ICJ. Weasels!

AND Twinky repeating him/her/itself.
13 Think (#) Jul 21st, 2010 - 05:23 pm Report abuse
1 month and one day open.
14 harrier61 (#) Jul 21st, 2010 - 08:39 pm Report abuse
Jajajajajajajajajaja. If you could only hear yourself!
15 avargas2001 (#) Jul 22nd, 2010 - 05:08 am Report abuse
I don't see any bullying here, unless you guys are refering to botnia inpossing their chemical pollutants on a small Argentine community water supply, not even mentioning the farmers rights to their traditional way of life, and what's up with bias comments ? didn't BP teach any english speaking subject the meaning of pollution and disaster ? do brits just exist to pin other races against one another to benefit from the political spin ? read the solutions british now here bring to the table, and be the judge of the people we are dealing with, behind it all is a plot to deforest Uruguay, and Argentina to supply wood needed in EU, to create jobs for the EU, while they critizise us for having high unemployment, and classify us as a third world Nation, sure we are, we ship all our natural resources to supply the raw material needed to create all the first world jobs, we hope t change that.

16 Think (#) Jul 22nd, 2010 - 10:02 am Report abuse
1 month and two days open.
17 harrier61 (#) Jul 22nd, 2010 - 10:55 am Report abuse
From gassy:
“not even mentioning the farmers rights to their traditional way of life”

Wonder where Uruguay got the idea that ignoring other people's rights was OK?
18 fredbdc (#) Jul 22nd, 2010 - 11:09 am Report abuse
Gas: If anyone is polluting the river it's Argentina with the old soap and chemical plants up river. Part of the ISJ case was pollution monitoring from Bonita and there was none found.
EU is not de-foresting Uruguay the Eucalyptus trees were planted 20 years ago so Uruguay could develop the pulp mill, try not to deceive us.
Please tell me how the farmers way of life has changed because of Botnia?
If you remember Botnia wanted to put this in Argentina but the bribes they had to pay got out of control so at the last minute they moved it to Uruguay. That is why the Entre Rios Governor is mad and allowed the bridge to be blocked in the first place.
19 briton (#) Jul 22nd, 2010 - 05:42 pm Report abuse
16 Think (#
think British, think happiness, think freedom, hate Argentina, you sly old fox, we knew you were a secret British admirer, all you guys, only pretend to like Argentina, but all the time want to be British,
hearts and minds [think] hearts and minds
20 harrier61 (#) Jul 22nd, 2010 - 06:54 pm Report abuse
Open for nearly 1 month and 3 days now. Doesn't any dozy Argentine want to get down to hours?
21 Think (#) Jul 22nd, 2010 - 09:09 pm Report abuse
1 month and three days open. (Moscow time)
22 briton (#) Jul 23rd, 2010 - 12:30 am Report abuse
Nobody likes war, except dictators, and that sadly is what Argentina is, all we want is peace, but if we or any other nation has to fight to defend ours or there freedom, then so be it,
If Argentina keeps on pushing peace loving peoples to war, then they [Argentina] should be broken up into little counties or settlements, and banned from having a military, until they learn to grow up, and live in the real world,
23 Think (#) Jul 23rd, 2010 - 01:38 pm Report abuse
Pretty soon 1 month and four days open. (Auckland time)
24 harrier61 (#) Jul 23rd, 2010 - 07:26 pm Report abuse
Reported you, yahoo.
25 briton (#) Jul 23rd, 2010 - 10:32 pm Report abuse
23 Think (#)
Pretty soon 1 month and four days open
sadly your date has just been scrapped due to cutbacks lol
26 Think (#) Jul 24th, 2010 - 07:27 am Report abuse
Pretty soon 1 month and five days open. (Auckland time)
Agreement to be signed on Monday
We keep celebrating!!!
27 harrier61 (#) Jul 24th, 2010 - 02:29 pm Report abuse
28 Think (#) Jul 25th, 2010 - 01:52 am Report abuse
Why is nobody comenting about this happy news?
C'mon guys.....
29 Cadfael (#) Jul 25th, 2010 - 08:52 am Report abuse
It's pretty much non-news you feckwit!
The picketing by so-called “environmentalists” was just another prime example of argie bully-boy tactics using rent-a-mob heavies and gobshytes who have less environmental awareness than my little finger.
You've shot yourself in the foot again!!
30 Think (#) Jul 25th, 2010 - 09:23 am Report abuse
This is good news because Mercopress, our favorite News Agency :-) publishes it as news!
And as the article's title goes:
Argentina/Uruguay towns celebrate first month with no pickets
I wish to celebrate with them!
Liberté, égalité, fraternité with our Uruguayan brothers!
El Think
31 harrier61 (#) Jul 25th, 2010 - 05:47 pm Report abuse
32 Think (#) Jul 26th, 2010 - 11:20 am Report abuse
Pretty soon 1 month and six days open.
33 avargas2001 (#) Jul 26th, 2010 - 09:09 pm Report abuse
the bridge to pollution need to come down, why are we even wasting time with this bullys ?? can't the picketeros do anythig about that bridge ? if it came down the bullys will have to pollute on their side of the border and no truck will come into Argentina, what we need in Argenina is a picketero with nerves of steel and some brain to do the job.
34 Think (#) Jul 28th, 2010 - 09:06 pm Report abuse
Tweet from Think:

Ok boys ....... end of story.... It's signed... By both presidents :-)

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