The decision by the Court of The Hague to reject the cautions required by Uruguay does set the scene for both sides of the River Uruguay to return to talks, which never should have been broken.
The success of Argentine diplomacy clears the way after the previous adverse decisions and should be welcomed with the same low profile with which the Uruguayan administration heard the previous findings from the international court. However, Argentina could go a step further. That honourable step would require a public call for talks without prejudice, without inflexible positions by either side, or finite decisions, and these talks could include civilian voices that have shown preference for negotiation and moderation, so that confrontation is put aside once and for all. Argentina does have the best resources for this in its history, as does Uruguay. It is certain that the intransigent position of some Uruguayans will take time to decline; however, and the offer of talks should be made to agree with the framework of disagreement and that nothing should hamper bringing rivals closer. It is of national interest to put an end to confrontation. This is especially so when reality overtakes political fiction in a Uruguayan action to file a protest before the UN Security Council, had the court in The Hague taken an unfavourable line as forecast by their analysts. The voice of reason is not the property of any one side, but must be the instrument of the administration of public business to be able to see beyond and to establish the rules of coexistence among different peoples. Therefore President Néstor Kirchner, who has gone to the aid of Gualeguaychú when he thought it necessary, has in his hands an equally sound opportunity to show those who block roads and bridges that there is strength in an Argentine argument that reason must be the winning line, and that violence cannot win over the long term. The best of Argentina's diplomatic tradition and of the future of the two democracies must drive us to take the first step at this stage. Argentina now has to set a good example on an international issue. By Adalberto Rodríguez Giavarini (*) The author was Argentina's Foreign minister between 1999 and 2001 Buenos Aires Herald