Argentina calls on Ghana to “assume its responsibility” in the release of ARA Libertad
Argentina demanded that Ghana “assumes its responsibility” of freeing the Navy flagship ARA Libertad, which remains impounded in the African country’s port Tema over claims of US funds and warned Argentina could take the case to the United Nations, because negotiating with ‘vulture funds’ is not an option.
Late Friday and 17 days into the controversial retention of the vessel, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman read a communiqué from Government House, Casa Rosada pointing out Argentina’s position and emphasizing that Argentina “will appeal to all possible legal resources before the Ghana courts” to obtain the release of ARA Libertad.
Timerman said that the impounding of the naval vessel is an “illegal action” since it violates rights of all countries because war vessels have immunities which Ghana recognizes and abides in the different international conventions of which she is signatory.
“It must be remembered that the State of Ghana is responsible internationally for the actions of all the branches of the State, including the Judiciary”, said Timerman.
“The vulture funds requested the impounding of the Argentine frigate in Ghana based on an injunction from a UK court. However these vulture funds have never tried doing something similar with Argentine assets in the UK that enjoy immunity”, claimed Timerman.
In respect of this case they should not forget “that vulture funds have failed in their attempts in the US, Germany, France and this week in Switzerland”.
“As has been the rule since Nestor Kirchner took office in 2003, the Argentine government will not yield to the vulture funds nor will it allow to be pressured by their local partners that fill the media responsive to them with false information”, emphasized the minister.
Timerman said that Argentina retains “all its options before international tribunals open, and if necessary will appeal to the United Nations, but negotiating with vulture funds is not and will not be one of those options”.
This is the first time a statement on the controversial retention of the vessel is done from Casa Rosada, Government House, which seems to indicate that following the lack of success from the ‘political mission’ sent to Ghana, Argentina is already preparing for other options.
A task force headed by Ambassador Susana Ruiz Cerrutti has been named signalling that Argentina will be going directly to international tribunals instead of Ghana since it mistrusts the impartiality of the local magistrate Richard Adjei Frimpong and the other high courts of the country regarding the injunction presented by NML Capital from Elliot Associates, that are intent in collecting over 300 million dollars in principal and interest from defaulted sovereign bonds.
Ambassador Ruiz Cerrutti is a top negotiator of the Argentine Foreign Ministry and has been involved in discussions over border disputes with Chile and at the International Court of Justice of The Hague in the dispute with Uruguay over the construction of pulp mills in jointly managed water courses.
Apparently Argentina will be presenting its case to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, an independent body but linked to the UN, of which both Argentina and Ghana are State parties.
In this context Argentina is expected to press on several articles of the Convention on the Law of the Sea which establish that non commercial vessels are protected by sovereign immunity and thus are free of impounds and embargoes.