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Montevideo, August 19th 2017 - 07:18 UTC

Cuba wants 75% debt relief from Argentina.

Wednesday, October 15th 2003 - 21:00 UTC
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Argentine Foreign Affairs Minister Rafael Bielsa admitted that Cuba requested a 75% write off from the 1,9 billion US dollars standing debt it has with Argentina. On his way back from the first official visit in 14 years of an Argentine Foreign Affairs Minister to the Fidel Castro regime, Mr. Bielsa said that when you break ground, “you must be prepared to accept similar rules”.

Argentina recently proposed private holders of defaulted sovereign bonds a write off equivalent to 75%.

"We will define the issue by next November", said Mr. Bielsa.

However 50 million US dollars of the total debt will be exchanged in a five year period for free medical treatment of Argentine patients with complicated diagnosis. Other options include medicine, education and even a plan for the promotion of Argentine sales to Cuba.

Mr. Bielsa also had the rare privilege of spending six hours discussing with President Castro, "which were particularly useful for my job as Foreign Secretary".

As a result of the meeting Argentine president Nestor Kirchner has been invited to Cuba, an event that has a tentative date of next February.

"However this will depend on President Kirchner's agenda. Cubans are very much interested in the recovery of Argentine dignity that President Kirchner has achieved in negotiations with the IMF, in human rights issues and in combating corruption. They are all looking forward to his visit", underlined Mr. Bielsa.

Mr. Bielsa confessed that he finally decided not to meet relatives of incarcerated Cuban dissidents given the "controversial atmosphere" following US president George Bush announcement of further tightening the Cuban embargo.

"To insist in the issue would have been an intrusion in Cuban internal affairs and that was not the purpose of our visit".

Categories: Mercosur.

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