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Vazquez to be present at Cristina K taking office ceremony

Tuesday, November 27th 2007 - 20:00 UTC
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President Tabare Vazquez President Tabare Vazquez

Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez will be present at the taking office ceremony of elected Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in Buenos Aires next December 10 confirmed Uruguay's Foreign Affairs minister Reinaldo Gargano.

"President Vazquez presence in the ceremony has been decided and there's no back stepping", said Gargano in spite of the fact that Argentine environmentalists have announced a public protest when the Uruguayan leader visits Buenos Aires. Argentine environmentalists and residents from the city of Gualeguaychu on the coast of the river Uruguay that acts as a natural border between the neighboring countries have been picketing and protesting the construction of a pulp mill on the Uruguayan coast of the waterway arguing environmental hazards. "All the necessary measures will be taken to impede nothing unexpected happening" when Vazquez visits Buenos Aires, said Gargano who also expressed no surprise at the protest announcements made by Gualeguaychu residents. Regarding the Uruguayan policy of closing the three bridges linking with Argentina with the purpose of preventing Argentine pickets from marching in Fray Bentos, the location next to which the controversial Botnia pulp mill was built and has recently begun production, Gargano said "we want to avoid incidents from escalating", and anticipated that "we don't discard a repeat of measures if necessary". One of the bridges has been closed for over ten days since Botnia begun production but the other two were also banned over the week end when protestors announced they would cross over to Uruguay. However Salto-Concordia and Paysandu-Colon on Monday were re-opened to normal traffic. The Uruguayan government decision is not entirely supported by the opposition which argues that it was "excessive" and only contributes to further "aggravate" the already strained relations with Argentina over the pulp mills issue. Furthermore it was not seen as a wise move given the coming summer season when over half a million Argentines flock to Uruguay's beaches mostly on ferries from Buenos Aires but also across the bridges. On Sunday Argentine elected president Cristina Kirchner that will "inherit" the dispute but has had a more pragmatic and less combative attitude than her husband, described Vazquez's decision to close all bridges "out of proportion".

Categories: Politics, Uruguay.

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