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Pulp mills dispute: Botnia willing to sit and discuss

Tuesday, January 16th 2007 - 20:00 UTC
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Finland's Botnia is willing to sit and discuss with Argentina and Uruguay a negotiated solution to the controversy over the building of a pull mill in Uruguay which Argentina argues will be highly contaminating.

According to Spanish sources Botnia authorities in Finland received the envoy of King Juan Carlos, Ambassador Juan Antonio Yañez who is acting as a "dialogue facilitator" between the two neighboring countries. Apparently Botnia is willing to sit at a negotiating table with the governments of Argentina and Uruguay and with ambassador Yañez. However Botnia underlined that the company has so far invested over a billion US dollars in the pulp mill under construction in Fray Bentos Argentine residents in Gualeguaychu across from Fray Bentos, where the pulp mills is under construction, and further north in the Colon-Paysandu crossing, supported by the Argentine government, argue that the pulp mills will contaminate and cause irreparable environmental damage to the region. Pickets and environmentalists have been blocking access to Uruguay to protest the construction of the pulp mills. One of the possible ways out to the dispute would be to pump the effluents of the future pulp mill far down the river Uruguay that acts a natural border between both countries and to minimize the visual impact of the plant, and its huge chimney, which can be seen from Gualeguaychu. This is the first time since construction begun that Botnia has been willing to some modification of the original project, in spite of the multiple requests from the Nestor Kirchner administration and even from Uruguayan president Tabare Vazquez. In related news the International Court of Justice in The Hague will be making public next Tuesday a ruling regarding the restraining order requested by the Uruguayan government in the framework of the pulp mills dispute. Uruguayan delegate before the International Court and Ambassador in France, Hector Gross Espiell, said he received an official notification about next Tuesday. Uruguay demanded restraining measures last November so that the Argentine government would take action against the pickets at the bridge heads that are interrupting traffic to Uruguay in protest for the building of pulp mills. The Argentine government has asked picketers to lift the ban but has refused to take action against them arguing they have a right to express themselves.

Categories: Investments, Uruguay.

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