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Mujica and CFK announce agreement to jointly monitor the River Uruguay

Thursday, July 29th 2010 - 00:49 UTC
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The presidential agreement should end years of dispute between Argentina and Uruguay The presidential agreement should end years of dispute between Argentina and Uruguay

Uruguay and Argentina finally reached on Wednesday an agreement for the joint monitoring of the River Uruguay which should end the long-standing dispute over the construction of the Finnish UPM/Botnia pulp mill dating back to 2005.

The announcement was done by Uruguayan Foreign Affairs minister Luis Almagro and his Argentine counterpart Hector Timerman in Buenos Aires following a two-hour meeting at the Olivos residence in Buenos Aires of Presidents Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, CFK, and José “Pepe” Mujica.

The agreement signed by both Presidents refers to the internal monitoring of the UPM/Botnia plant but also includes the monitoring of “every industry that dumps their effluents in the Uruguay River.”

The control will be done by a committee formed by two scientists from each country that will work on the monitoring of the Uruguay River with the Administrative Commission of the River Uruguay (CARU). The committee will be allowed to test the river twelve times per year and their reports will be public. The committee should be operational in thirty days.

According to the agreement read by Timerman during the press conference, the monitoring will begin at the UPM building and will continue with one of the industries located at Argentina's shores chosen by Uruguay.

“It's a great satisfaction to take up again the monitoring program initiated in 1999. We will add a scientific context to the control and will create a committee to be in charge of this issue,” Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro said.

“This is end of a chapter and beginning of another”, said Timerman who added that the agreement “has made everybody happy thanks to the will displayed by both presidents”. He added he felt proud of what had been achieved to solve the conflict.

Mujica arrived by helicopter in Buenos Aires early afternoon to meet with Mrs. Kirchner to address the pulp mill conflict and other bilateral pending issues.

Mujica before leaving Montevideo said he was convinced that “somehow” an agreement will be reached. The two presidents last June 2 met in the Uruguayan presidential estancia in Colonia when they imposed themselves a 60 days timetable to overcome the dispute.

The agreement is expected to eliminate the main motive behind the pickets that since 2006 blocked the international bridge linking the neighbouring countries to protest the alleged contamination of the UPM/Botnia plant, which was build following the European Union latest and strictest environmental rules.

Jose Pouler, one of the leaders of the Gualeguaychú pickets said that “personally” he was not satisfied with the agreement reached by Mrs. Kirchner and Mujica. “If they worked so much for so long, this is a regrettable agreement”.

“Nevertheless we must carefully read the small letter of the agreement, According to what I have heard it is nowhere near what was originally promised”, said Pouler.

Luis Leysa, solicitor for a group of environmentalists said that his team of experts were reading the agreement but “as a first comment I can say that the routine checking, air and water, is not going to be done with the periodicity or multi disciplinary scientific rigor that was originally proposed by us”.

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    Jul 29th, 2010 - 03:14 am 0
  • Hoytred

    Hoorah ... got there in the end. But are the pickets happy? Someone should tell them that it'll never get better if you pick it! (or so my old Mum told me :-)

    Jul 29th, 2010 - 06:19 am 0
  • Cadfael

    The installation of automatic equipment, up-stream and downstream on both banks would have solved all problems long ago.

    Jul 29th, 2010 - 07:58 am 0
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