Argentina Proposes To Uruguay “Complete, Extensive, And Absolute” Monitoring Of River
By Dialogo July 01, 2010Argentina proposed to Uruguay that they perform “complete, extensive, and absolute monitoring” of the river they share, the center of a prolonged conflict between the two countries, and Montevideo announced that it would make a counterproposal next week.
“I’ve brought a proposal for the monitoring of the Uruguay River, based on science and in the interest of resolving this issue as quickly as possible and turning our attention to tasks as important as the union of our peoples,” Argentine foreign minister Héctor Timerman said at a press conference in Montevideo.
“We are ready for complete, extensive, and absolute monitoring of the entire Uruguay River along both banks and with all the guarantees that we all should have in favor of the environment,” he added, while refusing to disclose further details about the Argentine plan.
The meeting took place ten days after Argentine environmentalists lifted a three-and-a-half year border blockade protesting a pulp plant they accuse of contaminating the Uruguay River.
In his first foreign trip after taking office last week, Timerman met for forty-five minutes with his Uruguayan counterpart, Luis Almagro, after which they were joined by Uruguayan president José Mujica and vice-president Danilo Astori for a two-hour joint lunch.
As far as Brazil’s possible participation in the monitoring is concerned, the two foreign ministers indicated that this is something that the presidents of the countries involved will have to determine at a later stage.
In April, the International Court of Justice in The Hague found that Argentina had not provided “conclusive evidence” that the plant, owned by Finnish firm UPM (formerly Botnia), was contaminating the river and demanded that the two countries carry out joint environmental monitoring within the framework of the Uruguay River Administration Commission (CARU).
Tuesday morning, before traveling to Montevideo, Timerman declared that Argentina and Uruguay are “almost there” in resolving the lengthy conflict.
On 2 June, Uruguayan president José Mujica and Argentine president Cristina Kirchner committed themselves to establishing criteria for the environmental monitoring of the river within two months.