Military sources: Uruguay reopens frontier bridges to Argentina 2007-11-27 10:03:41   Print

    MONTEVIDEO, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Uruguay reopened two areas bordering Argentina on Monday morning that were closed at the weekend to prevent the entry of Argentine environmentalists, according to Uruguay's military sources.

    Argentine environmentalists planned to enter the country for a demonstration against the operation of a disputed Finnish paper mill.

    Marcelo Larrobla, head of public relations for the army, told reporters that "a directive to reopen and to begin normal work was received at 10 a.m. local time (1200 GMT)."

    However, traffic from Argentina across the Fray Bentos International Bridge is set to remain halted for some time.

    The government had ordered the closure of bridge linking the Uruguayan city of Salto to the Argentine city of Concordia on Sunday, and shut the bridge linking Uruguayan city of Paysandu to Argentine city of Colon on Saturday.

    Argentine protestors have sealed the bridge linking the Uruguayan city of Fray Bentos to the Argentine city of Gualeguaychu for over a year to protest the plant, which was built by Finnish company Botnia in Fray Bentos.

    Since the paper mill went into operation on Nov. 9, some Argentine citizens have threatened to hold public protests.

    Argentina fears the factory will pollute the environment in a region heavily dependent on agriculture and tourism, while Uruguayargues the mill would cause little harm to the environment, and would revive the local economy.

    Argentina has been challenging the plant at the International Courts of Justice in the Dutch city The Hague, citing environmental damage to the Uruguay River, which forms the border between the two nations. It argues that pollution from the plant violates the two nations' Uruguay River Treaty.

    Botnia, which will produce 1 million tons of cellulose from the plant each year, has invested 1.2 billion U.S. dollars in the facility, one of Uruguay's largest ever foreign direct investments.

Editor: Du Guodong
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