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Buenos Aires Weather | US supports ‘dynamic Argentine economy’, Blinken tells Cafiero

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The United States supports “a dynamic Argentine economy,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday when receiving his Argentine counterpart Santiago Cafiero in Washington.

The duo met for talks as negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) continue, with Argentina seeking to refinance its multi-billion dollar debt with the multilateral lender and restructure payments due over the past next three years.

“Argentina is a friend and a partner in our hemisphere and beyond,” administration official Joe Biden said as he settled in for his first face-to-face meeting with the foreign minister. of President Alberto Fernandez.

“We strongly support a vibrant Argentine economy, which will only further strengthen our own partnership and Argentina’s leadership in our hemisphere and beyond,” Blinken added.

The duo spoke for an hour in the US State Department’s Thomas Jefferson Room, and sources within the State Department later described it as a “good meeting”.

The position of the United States, the IMF’s largest national shareholder, will be decisive if a new financing program is to be agreed with the Argentine government.

The Fernández administration has said it will not be able to honor repayments due over the next three years that have been agreed under the record $57 billion line of credit extended to the Mauricio Macri government in 2018.

According to a US State Department press release on Tuesday evening, Cafirero and Blinken discussed talks with the IMF, with the US official encouraging “Argentina to come up with a solid economic policy framework that will bring the country back to growth.” .

The Argentine government added that Blinken “strongly supports negotiations with the IMF and aspires to a quick positive resolution.”

‘Leadership’

The US Secretary of State on Tuesday highlighted the many “events and challenges” facing the United States and Argentina, the Americas and the rest of the world.

“We look forward to Argentina assuming a leadership role in the [UN] Human Rights Council, where we hope to work closely,” Blinken said.

Argentina recently assumed the presidency of the intergovernmental body of the United Nations, composed of 47 States and based in Geneva, for the first time in its history.

“For Argentina and for our government, it is very important to have this meeting. It is very important to continue to strengthen relations with the United States,” said Cafiero, who took up his current position in September 2021. after serving as Fernández’s chief of staff. .

“We hope to work on a constructive agenda that involves human rights, climate change, disarmament and non-proliferation, as well as economic sustainability for development,” he added.

“Thank you so much for making this meeting possible in the midst of the pandemic,” he told the US official.

Cafiero met with Blinken just days after Argentina’s ambassador to Managua, Daniel Capitanich, attended the January 10 inauguration of Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega and his wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo, whose re-election Washington considers it to have been a “farce”.

Iranian official Mohsen Rezai, one of those accused of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center that killed 85 people in Buenos Aires, was also present, which the US State Department and the main coalition Argentine opposition noted.

“The hemisphere cannot look the other way as Ortega-Murillo undermines democracy and regional security,” Assistant Secretary of State for the Americas Brian Nichols tweeted on Friday.

Nichols attended Tuesday’s meeting, as did Argentine Ambassador to the United States Argüello. Cafiero then met with influential Democrat and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

”Geopolitical Discussions”

Foreign Ministry sources told the Noticias Argentinas news agency that Cafiero’s meeting with Blinken was the latest phase of the government’s plan to set the stage for a possible bilateral meeting between Fernández and Biden, a goal toward which Ambassador Argüello has been working since he took office. .

Speaking in Buenos Aires last week, government spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti said the IMF deal “is not just about economics” and that Cafiero was traveling to Washington to “lead ‘other types of meetings related to geopolitical discussions’.

The Fernández government, which refused to accept the remaining tranches of the IMF’s largest ever credit line when it took office, said it was seeking a deal that would reduce the budget deficit of the Argentina by economic growth, not by a reduction in public spending.

– TIMES/AFP/NA

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