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Pulp mills: new round of shuttle diplomacy by Spain's envoy

Wednesday, January 24th 2007 - 20:00 UTC
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Botnia_Orion pulp mills under construction Botnia_Orion pulp mills under construction

Argentina on Wednesday reiterated confidence in Spain's dialogue “facilitating” efforts and called for “collaboration” in reaching a solution for the diplomatic conflict with Uruguay over the construction or pulp mills.

Spain's King Juan Carlos special envoy, Ambassador Antonio Yañez Barnuevo is scheduled to arrive Sunday in Argentina to begin another round of "shuttle" diplomacy between Buenos Aires and Montevideo. Following this week's International Court of Justice ruling which turned down Uruguay's demand enforcing Argentina to end pickets blockading routes and bridges linking the neighboring countries, cabinet chief Alberto Fernández said Argentina was expecting the "facilitator's" initiative to "prosper" and a solution to the controversy reached. Fernandez said that Ambassador Yañez Barnuevo was trying to bring both sides together and facilitate the beginning of a dialogue underlining that President Kirchner administration has "expectations that this would finally prosper". "Collaboration with the ambassador is essential to bring both sides together and promote dialogue. As President Kirchner said, we must recover our dialogue willingness and capacity", underlined Fernandez. From Montevideo a similar message was also aired by Foreign Affairs minister Reinaldo Gargano in favor of dialogue, but as has been Uruguay's position all along, conditioned to the previous lifting of the blockages by Argentine pickets protesting the construction of pulp mills and their alleged contamination of the shared river that acts as a natural border. "I think it's very positive that Mr Kirchner should be willing to dialogue, because so is Uruguay, but dialogue does not mean negotiation; one thing is to talk and another completely different to negotiate and with bridges blocked Uruguay does not negotiate", reiterated Gargano talking with foreign correspondents. Last Tuesday following the ruling which rejected Uruguay's petition for provisional measures, President Kirchner said that his government was in "serene reflection", but "with arms open for our Uruguayan brothers". Gargano insisted that Uruguay, in spite of the ICJ ruling, "is convinced it did the right thing at the right moment, but the Court didn't support our position" of imminent, irreparable damage because of the blockades. And from now on? Gargano said that Uruguay is working on the summing up to present before the ICJ next June. The original May 2006 case refers to Argentina's claims that Uruguay ignored the bilateral river Uruguay joint management treaty dating back to 1975 and has acted unilaterally regarding the location of the Botnia-Orion pulp mill, the supply of water and the environmental impact.

Categories: Politics, Uruguay.

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