The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Arbitration in Occidental Case Rejected, June 23, 2007

QUITO, Ecuador — President Rafael Correa said Saturday that Ecuador has no plans to enter arbitration with Occidental Petroleum Corp. over a canceled contract, contradicting comments his foreign minister made just days ago.

The California-based oil company filed an arbitration claim with the World Bank's International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington in May 2006 after Ecuador canceled its operating contract, claiming Occidental had broken the terms of the deal. Occidental denies any breach of contract and Ecuador had refused to recognize the arbitration claim.

In a nationally broadcast radio address on Saturday Correa said that "Ecuador and this government has never recognized" the World Bank arbitration body. "We'll continue not to recognize it as an appropriate body to handle the arbitration."

In an interview published Thursday in the Ecuadorean newspaper El Comercio, Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa called the arbitration "a legitimate process" and that Ecuador will argue its side. Officials at the Foreign Ministry and the president's office were not immediately available for comment Saturday.

Ecuador canceled Occidental's operating contracts last year and sent troops to seize its assets. Los Angeles-based Occidental is seeking to recover its oil fields and damages of about US$1 billion (euro750,000) _ the amount it invested since 1999 in Ecuador operations.

Occidental officials were not immediately available for comment.

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