Argentina reacted strongly and with a letter in harsh terms to Uruguay's decision to authorize Finland's UPM-Kymmene pulp mill to increase annual production by 8%. The letter addressed by Foreign minister Hector Timerman to his peer Luis Almagro informs Argentina will take the case to international tribunals and is currently 'reassessing' bilateral relations.
Timerman said he became aware of the decision that allows UPM to increase production to 1.365 million tons per annum with the release presented by the Uruguayan delegation to the River Uruguay Administrative Commission. The UPM pulp mill has been built on the shared, and jointly managed, river that acts as a natural border between Uruguay and Argentina.
In the letter he described Uruguay's attitude as an unfriendly gesture..., an issue that since October 2013 has emerged as a new chapter of controversies between the two countries.
This new Uruguayan decision confirms the unilateral rupture by the Uruguay government of the information and previous consultation mechanism, as established in the referred statute that was in full development last October 2013 when it was unilaterally interrupted in an arbitrary manner by your government, wrote Timerman who then demands the immediate implementation of the resolution and compliance in good faith of the norms in the Statute.
After pointing out that in three occasions Argentina in 2013 expressed its opposition to the authorization, Timerman states that the Argentine government has decided to immediately take the case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague because Uruguay has ignored the River Uruguay Statute and that tribunal's sentence from 20 April 2010.
Likewise Argentina will proceed to reassess all policies referred to bilateral relations with Uruguay, as well as the functioning of the respective bi-national commissions”.
Uruguay's decision regarding UPM-Kymmene became effective after the pulp mill complied with several additional conditions to mitigate the environmental impact of its operations.
Argentina and Uruguay after years of conflict, beginning almost a decade ago, regarding Uruguay's decision to authorize the UPM plant, ended litigating before the International Court of Justice which in 2010 ruled, basically stating that the pulp mill under current scientific conditions did not contaminate as alleged by Argentina, but also called on both sides to have a more fluid relation in keeping with the statute's working system.