Wednesday, June 30th 2004 - 21:00 UTC

”We're fed up with (US) meddling in our affairs”.

Argentine Foreign Affairs minister Rafael Bielsa said the Argentine government “was fed up” with foreign meddling in Argentina's internal affairs following a statement from a United States official expressing concern about the growing picketers street violence in the country.

Mr. Bielsa identified the US Under Secretary for Hemispheric Affairs from the US State Department, Roger Noriega, as the "high source in the State Department" who expressed to Argentine media the growing concern in United States with the spiraling of protests and violent occupation of public buildings, businesses and corporations.

"The truth is the Argentine government is fed up with the meddling in internal affairs of this Mr. Noriega", emphasized Mr. Bielsa when he has interviewed about the incident.

Mr. Bielsa added that Mr. Noriega talks about Argentina as if it were "its own backyard" and has no respect for the impediment to intervene in other country's domestic affairs.

Mr. Bielsa added that as soon as he heard the remarks he tried to contact US Secretary of State Colin Powell, "but he was in Turkey so I addressed the US Ambassador in Buenos Aires Lino Gutiérrez who apologized".

The Argentine minister added it was most revealing that "Mr. Noriega appeals to informal mechanisms to criticize, which happen to be aligned with the internal opposition in Argentina".

Interior Minister Anibal Fernandez was more caustic and said that instead of talking about Argentine internal affairs, "why doesn't he analyze what happened in Iraq".

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