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Ecuador abandons plan to save Amazon idyll

The Ecuadorean government has decided to scrap its plan to protect a pristine Amazonian preserve from oil exploitation. The country’s president said Ecuador could not afford to forego income from drilling.

Watch video 01:34

The Yasuni National Park, designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1989, has one of the richest diversity of species in the world.

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa was on Friday reported as having criticized industrialized countries for failing to provide the "solidarity" money he had called for in return for saving the area from drilling.

"The world has disappointed us," Correa had said in a broadcast on Thursday evening.

A plan put forward in 2007 had involved Ecuador avoiding drilling provided that it received compensation for an estimated 18.7 billion dollars in oil revenue.

However, Correa said that the country so far received only 13.3 million dollars since then – a mere 0.37 per cent of what had been expected. The president claims the money is needed in Ecuador’s fight against poverty.

rc / (dpa, Reuters)