QUITO, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- Chevron still has to honor its obligations for polluting Ecuador waters despite a partial verdict handed down by an arbitration court in The Hague in the U.S. energy cooperation's favor, Ecuadorian environment minister said Thursday.
"This partial verdict does not exempt the oil company from taking responsibility for the environmental damages," Environment Minister Lorena Tapia told state-run Gama TV.
"Chevron is trying to confuse (the issue), and it's trying to say that the verdict exempts it from being responsible for the environmental damages in the private suit -- absolutely false," Tapia added.
On Tuesday, the arbitration court issued a verdict in favor of Chevron in its lengthy suit with indigenous residents of the Ecuadorian Amazon, who sued the U.S. company for polluting their soil and water.
According to the claimants, the area was contaminated with crude oil between 1964 and 1990 by Texaco, which was bought out by Chevron in 2001.
Chevron was fined 19 billion U.S. dollars by an Ecuadorian court in 2012, but has not paid the fine, which still needs to be ratified by Ecuador's Supreme Court.
Tapia said the arbitration court in The Hague had no legal jurisdiction over the Ecuadorian suit, and therefore "has acted outside the legal framework."
"What Chevron has to do is fulfilling the sentence established by the Ecuadorian court," instead of trying "to evade its responsibility for environmental and social damages that are evident in the Amazon," said the minister.
Chevron, meanwhile, welcomed the verdict by The Hague-based court, saying it ruled that accords signed between Ecuador and Texaco in 1995 and 1998 relieved the company of any responsibility in the matter.
"Game over. The verdict by a renowned international court confirms that the fraudulent claims against Chevron should never have even been brought," said Chevron's Vice President and General Counsel Hewitt Pate in a statement.
On the day the verdict was made public, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa traveled to the affected Amazon region to demonstrate the degree of contamination that 30 years later continues to pollute the region's wells.