Uruguay says will take Argentina to court

Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez said his government will sue Argentina in its own courts if Argentine protesters opposed to the construction of two Uruguayan pulp mills don't lift their blockades of bridges connecting the two countries.

Vazquez told a news conference on Tuesday in Caracas, where he met with President Hugo Chavez, that if the blockades continue, his government will ask Argentine courts to order them lifted and force the government to pay damages to Uruguay.

For more than a month, Argentine protesters have blocked key bridges to protest the plants, which they say could spread toxic chemicals along hundreds of kilometers (miles) of the Rio Uruguay along the border, contaminating farmlands in Argentina's northeast delta.

Vazquez has said the pulp plants will meet international environmental standards while creating 600 jobs, contributing US$400 million ( Ђ 335 million) to the country's gross domestic product and boost national exports by 15 percent.

He said Tuesday the blockades had already cost Uruguay more than US$200 million ( Ђ 167 million) and were also hurting Argentina's economy.

The bridges are heavily traveled by vacationers bound for Uruguay's beaches and form a key trade corridor for Argentina, Uruguay and nearby Brazil.

"Uruguay has obeyed all the rules in this process but those Argentine citizens have not obeyed the law and the Constitution," Vazquez said, reports the AP.


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