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Cablegate: Media Reaction Argentine Debt to Paris Club; Iranian


DE RUEHBU #1955/01 2741514
O 011514Z OCT 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


Weekend international stories include the USG asking Argentina to
resume talks with the IMF in order to settle its Paris Club debt;
implications of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to
Latin America; and the outcome of Ecuadorian elections.


- "The US asks Argentina to come to terms with the IMF again"

Hugo Alconada Mon, Washington-based correspondent for
daily-of-record "La Nacisn," writes (09/29) "The US will condition
its support for an eventual deal between Argentina and the Paris
Club on either party reaching an 'understanding' with the IMF, even
when it may not be a formal agreement.

"The US posture, which also includes resumption of talks about
holdouts, was made public after the meeting between US Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice and Argentine FM Jorge Taiana at the UN...,
following several months of tension.

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"The highest-ranking USG officer in charge of Latin American
Affairs, Tom Shannon, told 'La Nacisn': 'The US understands the
importance of this issue for Argentina and believes that a positive
response from the Paris Club will depend on the ability of Argentina
and the IMF to come to some kind of understanding.'

"Shannon was extremely careful in his remarks. He talked about the
need for an 'understanding,' not a 'formal agreement' between the
(Argentine) Government and the IMF, as demanded by other powers from
the (Paris) Club, such as Germany, Japan and Italy. Whoever takes
power in December will need to resume talks with the IMF if he/she
wishes to pay off the country's debt to the (Paris) Club.

"According to a USG source, the Assistant Secretary of State sought
to mark a difference. The source said that Washington does not
consider it essential for Argentina to subject itself to formal
conditionality, a stand-by agreement or a program with the IMF, and
that just 'a political deal' would suffice, but (Argentina) will
have to sign something. The source explained that only after that
happens, will the US believe that Argentina could reach some kind of
deal with the (Paris) Club.'

"... Signals from Buenos Aires will be decisive for the US
Department of Treasury, which is the toughest block in

"Republicans and Democrats alike are mistrustful of the ties between
the Argentine Government and Venezuelan President Hugo Chvez and
reject Kirchner's claims.

"A source said 'If I was Argentina and wanted US support at the
Paris Club (for which I should reach a political, not formal, deal
with the IMF) I would be extremely cautious when claiming that
Washington did not help me. It would be easy for them to tell me to
go to Chvez for help.'"

- "A campaign that ignores conflicts"

Joaqun Morales Sol, political columnist of daily-of-record "La
Nacisn," comments (09/30) "... (Argentine President) Nstor Kirchner
has just claimed that Bush did not help Argentina when it went
through its crisis. Bush did not help Fernando de la Ra nor Eduardo
Duhalde because they were victims to the first wave of economists of
the Bush era. That was when Paul O'Neill and Anne Krueger used to
say that bankrupt countries should simply run bankrupt. During the
final months of the Duhalde government, Washington did help with a
crucial deal with the IMF even when it had to break G7 usual
consensus. Thanks to that truce, Kirchner was able to 'float' amid
the 'tempest' of the crisis. Bush helped Kirchner.

"Perhaps Kirchner lashed out at Bush because he considered that he
had done enough for him by having accused Iran at the UNGA for its
lack of cooperation in the AMIA probe, although this is not a
problem for Washington but for Kirchner... Or weren't the 86 dead in
the attack not Argentines? Kirchner is negotiating with Bush just
like he does with Hugo Moyano - a pat is followed by indifference."

- "Villains"

Left-of-center "Pgina 12" carries an opinion piece by political
columnist Santiago O'Donnell, who writes (09/30) "As time goes by,
history repeats itself - the villain on duty makes his presentation
at the UNGA to have a duel with the host president... The message is
always the same - enemies of the US are enemies of the civilized

world. It happened with the Soviets, it happened with Fidel, it now
happens with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad...

"... The case is that the Iranian leader visited the region this
week and he stopped in Caracas and La Paz. Washington's weakness and
lack of interest in Latin America made possible a visit that was
unthinkable some years ago.

"Ahmadinejad's visit opens a question - is it advisable to establish
alliances with extra-regional leaders in order to promote
alternative development strategies? In principle, Argentina's
alliance with Iran is forbidden. There are three different issues
with many common points - the attacks against the AMIA and the
Israeli Embassy, the confrontation in the Middle East and the global
war on terrorism.

"Regarding the first issue, we all know that the Argentine
Government has accused Iranian government officials of masterminding
the attack against the AMIA... Then there is the confrontation in
the Middle East... The lesson left by the attacks against AMIA and
the Embassy is that it does not seem opportune to get involved in
such an explosive conflict.

"The third issue is Bush's war on terrorism, in which Washington has
assigned a passive role to Argentina, but a role anyway... What
really matters to Bush is that the Kirchner administration has
provided all necessary cooperation, as Deputy Assistant Secretary
Thomas Shannon said during his last visit to the country...
Washington has just declared the Iranian National Guard a terrorist
organization... In this context, it is not easy to do business with

"... However, the Iranian leader's visit in Latin America is both an
opportunity and a risk for all Latin American countries he visited
or will visit and more so after his performance in New York.

"This is why the Iranian president's tour to Latin America has
diplomatic and commercial objectives that are constrained by the
geo-political reality, but in any case is loaded with symbolism,
which is hard to ignore. His visit will open a road which the
countries of the region can use to deepen their exchange with less
problematic trade blocs such as the Chinese or the Europeans...
after the failure of the US-led FTAA project. Or, it could serve to
demand more attention and a change of attitude from the US, just as
the Argentine president did last week."

- "Facing a dangerous concentration of power"

Dolores Tereso, international columnist of daily-of-record "La
Nacisn, comments (10/01) "Ecuadorians' blunt support for President
Rafael Correa will guarantee an impressive amount of power for the
leader..., which can only be compared with the power of his allied
in the region, Venezuelan Hugo Chvez.

"With this new victory, Correa obtained the support required to
draft a Socialist Constitution according to his style, and to rule
and pass legislation without resorting to Congress, which he
confirmed he will dissolve.

"This is the beginning of a road that, according to his critics,
will lead to the same authoritarian model established by his
Venezuelan counterpart. In fact, with yesterday's elections, Ecuador
joined the movement led by Chvez in the region.

"... Ecuadorians confirmed their support for the change Correa
represents and the definite rupture with a political system that,
for the last decade, turned Ecuador in the most unstable country in
the region.

"... Yesterday's elections will guarantee Correa some amount of
power than can only be matched with that of Chvez...

"... What lies ahead is a period of uncertainty in view of Correa's
possible authoritarian turn and his plan to dissolve Congress. The
latter is a measure of dubious legality that could jeopardize the
fragile stability of the country. Uncertainty also prevails about
the final direction of Ecuador's dollarized economy and the extent
of Correa's socialist revolution... Correa even showed he could
promote the presidential re-election, an ambitious objective in a
country in which no president managed to finish his term in office
for the last ten years."

To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
classified website at:


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