By Dialogo October 21, 2010 Uruguay and Argentina are trying to make up for lost time following a lengthy bilateral conflict over the location of a pulp plant on a border river, which eroded their relationship as partners and neighbors, Uruguayan Deputy Foreign Minister Roberto Conde judged on 19 October, calling for “changing the geopolitics of the Río de la Plata.” “We are at a stage in our relations with our Argentine brothers that I am in the habit of calling ‘making up for lost time,’ and I hope that it goes very well for us,” Conde said at the launch of a program evaluating the integration of production between the two countries. “And we’re working hard to contribute our share on our side, which is to optimize our institutional diplomatic relations and additionally transform ourselves into a motor for the ongoing generation of trust,” he added. According to the deputy minister, Uruguayans and Argentineans have a “small geopolitical debt pending.” “We have to change our geopolitics of the Río de la Plata. The twenty-first century cannot be marked by rivalry over ports as a geopolitical factor determining relations between Uruguay and Argentina. The twenty-first century has to bring us, Uruguayans and Argentineans, to make shared, coordinated, cooperative use, with investment and with joint management, of the area around the mouth of the Río de la Plata, as a shared heritage,” he affirmed. For Conde, the river basin – which includes parts of five South American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) – is “very compromised from the point of view of its survival, in both hydrological and biological terms, with startling levels of pollution and of loss of river capacity.” “It is the river basin that gives us life; our countries have a field there for work, but also a field for research, for investment, for trade, and for enormous cooperation for the next few decades,” he emphasized. Uruguayan Industry Minister Roberto Kreimerman and his Argentine counterpart Débora Giorgi participated in the launch, the latter accompanied on her trip by a score of representatives from businesses and trade associations in a variety of sectors of production. Among the first sectors invited to participate in a joint project on integrating production are makers of textiles, plastic furniture, processed foods, wine, car parts, software, and health technology, among others.
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