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Last Updated: Monday, 18 December 2006, 15:37 GMT
Uruguay 'strangled' by Argentina
Demonstrators march to Plaza de Mayo holding an Argentine flag that reads "No to pulp mills" in Buenos Aires, on 12 December 2006.
Demonstrations have spread from the border to the Argentine capital
Uruguay has accused Argentina of turning a blind eye to protests over a planned pulp mill near their border which are "strangling" the economy.

The protests at the three international bridges on the Uruguay river were aimed at "forcing an end to construction", said ambassador Hector Gros Espiell.

Mr Espiell made the remarks before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which is deliberating on the case.

Argentina maintains the mill will pollute the Uruguay river.

In July, the ICJ threw out Argentina's request to have the work stopped pending a final court ruling.

And last month, the World Bank approved more than $500m (259m) in loans for the project, after a study found the plant met its environmental standards.

Mr Espiell, Uruguay's ambassador to France, told the UN tribunal at The Hague that Uruguay was confronted by an urgent crisis.

"There is no legitimate excuse which can justify the omission of the Argentine government in its duty to prevent the blockade," the ambassador told the ICJ hearing.

The wave of Argentine protests against the project has already caused Ence, the Spanish company that was developing a second pulp mill for the site, to relocate its project elsewhere in Uruguay.

But the mill being built by Finnish company Botnia is going ahead.

The Uruguay river is shared by both countries.

Court allows Uruguay pulp mills
13 Jul 06 |  Americas
Argentine leader joins mill rally
05 May 06 |  Americas
Bank caution on Uruguay mill cash
12 Apr 06 |  Business
Greenpeace blocks pulp mill boat
03 Mar 06 |  Americas
River row divides former friends
15 Feb 06 |  Americas
Country profile: Argentina
02 Dec 05 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Uruguay
23 Nov 05 |  Country profiles

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