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Uruguay/Argentina ‘scientific monitoring’ inside pulp mill remains unsolved

Saturday, July 24th 2010 - 05:24 UTC
Full article 61 comments
Argentine Foreign Affairs minister Hector Timerman Argentine Foreign Affairs minister Hector Timerman

Uruguay and Argentina continued on Friday working to reach an agreement for the joint monitoring of the Uruguay River, with the goal of overcoming the long-standing conflict over the Botnia/UPM pulp mill.

However the day was plagued with clashing versions since the 48 hours “reflection period” agreed by both sides last Wednesday was inexorably catching up.

“There are no official comments from the Uruguayan government” said a Uruguayan presidential source. Uruguayan Foreign Affairs Minister Luis Almagro and his Argentine counterpart Héctor Timerman “were in contact” but, according to those sources, they did not meet in the Uruguayan capital as they had planned on Wednesday after a meeting in Buenos Aires City.

However towards mid-day Uruguay’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Roberto Conde insisted that the political agreement was “closed,” Timerman later replied via his Twitter account that his Ministry “does not know” what Conde was referring to.

The conflicting positions are framed within the feverish negotiations that have been carried out for weeks now by each side in order to close the controversy over the Botnia/UPM pulp mill. “Scientific” details of the Uruguay River monitoring appear as an obstacle, as well as those who would enter the plant for inspection, a Uruguayan radio station reported.

“The agreement is simple: unrestricted access to scientists so they may control Botnia and all the industrial and farming establishments along both coasts of the Uruguay River,” Timerman wrote in his Twitter account.

Conde, on the other hand, explained the understanding implies the control on behalf of scientists in the Fray Bentos plant and in the ventures located in the southern river basin.

“We have decided to open up the conflict to scientific control, and only scientific, to all the industrial and agricultural establishments that are on each coast of the Uruguay River, and in the first place, the Botnia/UPM plant, as well as those installed in the future,” Timerman agreed via Twitter.

“If Uruguay accepts unrestricted access for the scientists’ commission to all industrial plants including Botnia, there’s an agreement”, said Timerman who added that “of course” Argentina will also accept the unrestricted access of scientists from both countries to all plants.

Precisely one of the points lacking definition is who are the scientists to have access to the plant to control its workings from an environmental point of view and to which interests they respond. Not an easy issue to address and agree.

Anyhow the idea is for Presidents Cristina Kirchner and José Mujica to countersign the agreement in early August during the coming Mercosur summit in the province of San Juan.

Top Comments

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  • Hoytred

    This issue still goes well I see .......

    Jul 24th, 2010 - 06:03 am 0
  • Think

    Pretty soon 1 month and five days open. (Auckland time)
    Agreement to be signed on Monday
    We keep celebrating!!

    Jul 24th, 2010 - 07:28 am 0
  • avargas2001

    I don't think I like the idea of a mill so close to that border with Argentina, the size of it is what worryes me the most, I found this report And I wonder! where is Metsa Botnia going to get the wood for their million ton pulp mill ? and for what I read in other articles Botnia doesn't even need to come to Argentina since they have a port in Uruguay, could they be thinking on deforesting Argentine land ? naaaa the finish wouldn't do that will they ? so whay in hell would this bridge be such an important issue ?

    Jul 24th, 2010 - 08:57 am 0
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