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Cablegate: Argentina: Cabinet Chief Fernandez Defends "Proper And

VZCZCXYZ0213
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0337 0771934
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (CCY AD6FEF99 AMG5285-695)
O 171934Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0486

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000337

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

C O R R E C T E D COPY CAPTION
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: CABINET CHIEF FERNANDEZ DEFENDS "PROPER AND
MATURE" RELATIONSHIP WITH USG


1. (SBU) In response to press stories asserting that U.S.-Argentine
relations continued to sour, Chief of Cabinet Minister Alberto
Fernandez spoke to the local media March 14 characterizing the
U.S.-Argentina relationship as "proper and mature, based on mutual
respect...even though both countries have different positions."
Commenting on the exclusion of Argentina from Secretary Rice's South
America travel itinerary, Fernandez told the press that "the
Secretary's trip had been scheduled ahead of time," and that the GOA

SIPDIS
does not consider the fact that she was not stopping in Buenos Aires
as "politically significant". Fernandez confirmed that he and
ex-President Nestor Kirchner had been invited to New York by the
Council of the Americas and said that the last time he had talked
with WHA A/S Thomas Shannon, the A/S had suggested that during the
visit they meet and discuss regional developments as well as
bilateral relations. Fernandez added that the dates of the visit
had not yet been set.

2. (SBU) Comment: Fernandez's March 14 remarks were an effort to
minimize recent press speculation (intensified by a recent New York
Times article) that the Secretary's bypassing of Argentina on her
recent trip indicated that GOA-USG relations are still "frozen" or
growing worse. Fernandez' remarks are in line with his private
commitment to defend the relationship and mark a clear effort by the
GOA to act with more restraint in how it reacts to what are
portrayed in the local media as slights from the United States.
Similarly, despite provocative press pieces about the recent U.S.
Human Rights and Investment Climate reports, the government has
remained silent.

WAYNE

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