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.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ecuador relaunches Amazon protection talks

* Yasuni initiative aimed at countering climate change

* Correa says will not let donor nations dictate terms

QUITO, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Ecuador is toughening its stance in talks aimed at protecting its Amazon region through a deal under which rich countries would pay the government to refrain from drilling for oil, an official said on Friday.

Under the Yasuni initiative, OPEC-member Ecuador would leave 850 million barrels of oil underground in the Amazon as a way to fight climate change.

Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Fander Falconi, who had been in charge of the negotiations, quit this month after leftist President Rafael Correa accused him of mishandling the project and allowing potential donor countries to impose conditions.

"This is a strong relaunching of the the Yasuni initiative ... under a new structure outlined by the president," Maria Espinosa, the government minister in charge of coordinating the use of natural resources, told reporters.

Ecuador says not touching the oil would avoid creating 410 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The government is looking to donor countries such as Germany, Belgium and Spain to pay it $350 million a year.

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