Andres Gaudin

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After four rounds of negotiations aimed at reaching an agreement on economic and political differences regarding their joint operation of the world's largest hydroelectric dam, the governments of Paraguay and Brazil have not found common ground, and the situation could lead to the least desirable of all options--submitting the matter to international arbitration. "We are looking at a huge paradox. Before Presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva [Brazil] and Fernando Lugo [Paraguay] were in office, both agreed that the 1973 treaty initiating the huge Itaipu project needed revising because it established unequal treatment that was obviously damaging to Paraguay. Now, however, while Lugo steadfastly maintains the demands of his country, with its weak economy and fragile democracy, Lula heads a regional giant and vindicates the one-sided treaty signed without the peoples\' knowledge by two of the region's bloodiest dictatorships," political analyst Jose Nicolas Morinigo, a professor at the Universidad Catolica de Asuncion who advises the government on sociopolitical matters, told Radio Nederland.