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Summit produces deal, rift

Nov. 10, 2007 at 8:29 PM

SANTIAGO, Chile, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- The Ibero-American summit in Chile produced both a power transmission deal and widened a rift over a paper mill.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte Frutos agreed to build a $400 million power line from the Itaipu power plant near the two countries' border to Asuncion, Mercopress reported Saturday. Lula de Silva also was expected to discuss the possibility of Brazil investing in Bolivia's natural gas industry with Bolivian President Evo Morales.

A simmering row between Argentina and Uruguay heated up after Uruguay granted an operating permit for the paper mill despite Argentina's continuing environmental objections, the BBC reported. Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez approved the startup permit Thursday, just hours after hugging Argentine President Nestor Kirchner in a conciliatory gesture at the summit.

Uruguay then announced Friday it had closed its border crossing with Argentina closest to the mill in Fray Bentos, after Argentine campaigners pledged to protest there Saturday, the British newspaper reported.

"You have stabbed the Argentine people in the back," Kirchner told Vazquez, the official Argentine news agency Telam reported.

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