June 18, 2013
Timerman universally sidelined, says Uruguayan media
By Carolina Barros
Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman’s ears must be roasting: the three main Uruguayan dailies yesterday referred to the thorny relationship the minister has with the Uruguayan Chancery, although each contained different shades, of course.
While El País ran with the headline “The government cuts ties with Timerman,” La República, with close links to Uruguayan President José Mujica, insisted that a resolution to the conflict over the dredging of the Martín García channel was being sought and was close — although it could not refrain from making reference, similarly to El Observador, to the “mega-wedding” of Timerman’s daughter, scheduled to occur in March, 2013, in José Ignacio, on the Uruguayan Riviera.
The neighbouring country newspapers also took it upon themselves to rub salt into the (Argentine Foreign Minister’s) wounds: the Presidential chief-of-staff, Alberto Breccia, was asked to comment on the “controversial lavish wedding”, and that the same Breccia stated in the daily Cabinet meeting that “we do not comment on affairs of the heart.”
However, without a doubt the most angry article was written by El País: “After the statements made by the Argentine Foreign Ministry and the Argentine delegation to the Uruguay River Administrative Council (CARU), in which the Foreign Ministry accuses the Uruguayan government and some of its members of various irregularities, considered to be offensive, false and unjustified, the (Uruguayan) government considers its negotiations with Timerman closed, according to diplomatic sources.”
The daily added that “it is thought that it is almost impossible to advance with serious issues on the bilateral agenda with the Argentine Foreign Minister, unless he changes his beligerent attitude toward Uruguay, although there is still a “formal” diplomatic relationship between the two Foreign Ministries.”
La República’s article is more optimistic, speculating about an imminent conclusion to negotiations regarding the dredging of the Martín García channel. “The dredging of the channel, which currently has a depth of 32 feet, is currently out of the orbit of the River Plate Administrative Committee, which generated highly confusing situations in the tender process for the next stage of work,” stated the pro-Mujica paper.
“The dredging will now fall under state control, including permanent political monitoring, to ensure that the work is completed properly and on time,” said the paper, as Mujica believes that “resolving the dredging situation, upon which a serious part of the future of Montevideo port is at stake, is an absolute priority.” According to La República, the issue is now “encapsulated (in other words, removed from Timerman’s scattergun approach) by both governments, in order to avoid that outside situations (the blocking of imports, pollution from the UPM pulp mill, etc.) have an influence on the same.
However, in a long cover article, El País indicated various storm clouds in the future. “Internal struggles regarding the succession of Entre Ríos Governor Sergio Uribarri are having a direct impact on the threats of the blocking of bridges,” said the paper, adding that President Mujica had publicly spoken against the return of the blocking of the international General San Martín bridge (in Gualeguaychú) “to warn President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.”
According to El País, “the information being handled by Mujica points to the fact that Kirchnerite Argentine Senator Pedro Guastavino (Entre Ríos) is the politician calling for the resumption of the Gualeguaychú assembly members against Uruguay.”