“Argentina has met all of its commitments as scheduled,” -Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman
BUENOS AIRES, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) — Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman on Tuesday summoned the top U.S. diplomat in the South American nation to rebuke him for using the word “default” to describe Argentina’s failure to pay off its foreign debt.
Kevin Sullivan, the U.S. charge d’s affaires and the top ranking diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, was called to the office of Foreign Minister Hector Timerman. The Argentine official expressed his government’s “profound unease” at assertions Sullivan had made about the country’s defaulting on debt during an interview with local media and called the statements “inappropriate.”
Timerman told Sullivan that “Argentina has met all of its commitments as scheduled,” referring to Argentina’s debt service payments to creditors.
Part of Argentina’s debt payments, deposited in a U.S. bank, have been frozen at the ruling given by a federal judge in New York due to an ongoing financial dispute between a minority group of Argentine debt bond holders in the United States and the Argentine government.
In an interview carried by Argentina’s Clarin daily Monday, Sullivan reportedly had said: “it is important for Argentina to come out of default as soon as possible to be able to resume the path of sustainable economic growth and attract the investment it needs.”
During his daily press briefing Tuesday, Argentine Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich also spoke of the incident, calling Sullivan’s remarks “incorrect, unfortunate and representing undue interference in the sovereignty of a country.”
“Argentina is paying and meeting its obligations,” said Capitanich. “The impediment to some creditors receiving their payments is not because of Argentina, it’s because of a judge who is blocking the payment process. Argentina has deposited the funds … so Argentina has paid.”
Argentina Says U.N. Vote Vindicates Its Debt Fight Against ‘vultures’
By Walter Bianchi and Richard Lough
Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich’s comments came on the same day the lower house of Congress held a marathon debate over a draft law proposing to remodel the country’s debt to enable it to skirt U.S. court rulings in support of the hedge funds.
The lower house is expected to vote in favor of the bill in the early hours of Thursday. But the law may not achieve much if legal hurdles and investor skepticism prevent the proposed restructuring measures from being implemented.
President Cristina Fernandez says her country is the victim of “vulture funds” that are prepared to wreck its finances in their pursuit of huge profits. She wants a global framework that would prevent a minority of investors from scuppering debt restructuring agreements.
Prompted by Argentina and its ally Bolivia, the U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of such a convention.
“If 124 countries in the United Nations support the Republic of Argentina, it means that Argentina is right in its claims,” Capitanich told reporters in Buenos Aires.