Argentina Slams Uruguay Water Permit to Botnia

Update:

ARGENTINA: November 7, 2007













A man casts his shadow on a wall built by environmentalists to block the road linking the Argentine city of Gualeguaychu and the Uruguayan city of Fray Bentos. Argentina and Uruguay have been embroiled in an environmental row for more than a year over the construction of a paper pulp mill by Finland's company Metsa-Bonia in Fray Bentos, a town on the Uruguay River that divides the two countries. Argentines say they are concerned about contamination and the impact on tourism and fishing, while Uruguayans insist the project is environmentally safe.
Photo by MARCOS BRINDICCI /REUTERS NEWS PICTURE SERVICE















Argentine environmentalists block a road linking the Argentine city of Gualeguaychu and the Uruguayan city of Fray Bentos during a protest against the construction of paper pulp mills October 13, 2006. Argentina and Uruguay have been embroiled in an environmental row for more than a year over the construction of paper pulp mills in Fray Bentos, a town on the Uruguay River that divides the two countries. The sign reads 'Spain and Finland, terrorists of environment'. REUTERS/Andres Stapff (URUGUAY)


Argentina Slams Uruguay Water Permit to Botnia


ARGENTINA: November 3, 2006


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Argentina formally complained to Uruguay on Wednesday about a permit that country issued to Finnish forestry group Metsa-Botnia to extract water from the shared Uruguay River, the latest dispute in a wider battle over Botnia's pulp mill project.


Argentina has challenged the mill at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, claiming neighboring Uruguay violated a bilateral treaty by not providing enough information on the riverside project. Buenos Aires went on the offensive again on Wednesday, saying Uruguay had made another "unilateral" decision in September when it authorized Botnia to extract "a significant volume" of water from the shared river.

"This aggravates a situation that is already tense between the two countries," Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana said in a letter to his Uruguayan counterpart, adding that the decision could affect the quality and quantity of river water.

Argentina fears the mill, which is due to begin operating in the third quarter of 2007, will damage the environment and also hurt tourism and fishing in the area.

Environmentalists in Argentina have blocked highways leading to Uruguay in protest over the project, costing Uruguay millions of dollars, Montevideo has said.

The court in The Hague refused to order a halt to construction, but a broader decision is not expected until late next year, sources at Argentina's foreign ministry have said.

Spain's Ence had planned to build a pulp plant next to Botnia's mill, but the company announced it would relocate it. The two mills were estimated to cost about US$1.7 billion, representing the largest private investment in Uruguay's history.
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The Uruguay River

Metsa Botnia

Uruguay:Paper Mill Will Damage River

Just another story illustrating tensions between countries regarding water and the exploitation of this resource by governments and corporations that put profit first.

People In Uruguay Fight For Their Water Rights

Guarani Acquifer

And speaking of the Guarani Acquifer, take a look at this:

Bush Buys Land in Northern Paraguay

Buenos Aires, Oct 13 (Prensa Latina) An Argentine official regarded the intention of the George W. Bush family to settle on the Acuifero Guarani (Paraguay) as surprising, besides being a bad signal for the governments of the region.

Luis D Elia, undersecretary for the Social Habitat in the Argentine Federal Planning Ministry, issued a memo partially reproduced by digital INFOBAE.com, in which he spoke of the purchase by Bush of a 98,842-acre farm in northern Paraguay, between Brazil and Bolivia.

The news circulated Thursday in non-official sources in Asuncion, Paraguay.

D Elia considered this Bush step counterproductive for the regional power expressed by Presidents Nestor Kirchner, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Evo Morales, Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro.

He said that "it is a bad signal that the Bush family is doing business with natural resources linked to the future of MERCOSUR."

The official pointed out that this situation could cause a hypothetical conflict of all the armies in the region, and called attention to the Bush family habit of associating business and politics.

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PL-38
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Do they want to get to the water first?

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