ARA Libertad: Timerman at UN for round of contacts beginning with Ban Ki-moon
Argentine Foreign minister Hector Timerman is scheduled to begin on Monday a round of contacts with top United Nations officials to address the issue of the training frigate ARA Libertad, impounded in Ghana.
“The only issue is the illegal detention of the frigate in Ghana because it is a highly worrying concern for world shipping since a magistrate from Ghana has decided not to respect the immunity of a war vessel as it is recognized by international public law, and of which the African nation is a signatory state”, said the office of Timerman in a communiqué.
Timerman in his round of contacts will be accompanied by Deputy Minister Eduardo Zuain, who has been to Ghana, ambassador designate to UN Maria Cristina Perceval and the ambassador in Washington, Jorge Argüello.
The Argentine minister has a meeting scheduled with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon where he plans to address the issue which refers directly to the immunities system for States.
Another meeting scheduled for Monday is with the president of the UN Security Council Gert Rosenthal and finally with the president of the UN General Assembly Minister Vuk Jeremic.
On the sidelines the legal aspects of the controversy with Ghana will be discussed by the Argentine Assistant General for Legal issues Patricia O’Biren, with the UN Legal Counsellor’s office.
Meanwhile from Accra representative of the Ghanaian government said on Sunday that the crew of the Argentine frigate ARA Libertad, is free to leave the country.
The vessel and its crew have remained in detention since 2 October at the coastal city of Tema after a Ghanaian court ruled in favour of the NML Capital Ltd fund, which is demanding payment of Argentine sovereign bonds, principal plus interest, valued at approximately 300 million dollars.
Argentina defaulted over a decade ago and is facing several lawsuits in US courts over its unpaid debts. The decision from the Ghana magistrate confirming the impound has also caused a rift of relations between Buenos Aires and Accra.
“They are free to go and leave the country through the standard process of immigration,” an unnamed Ghana high-ranking government official said.
NML, associated to the Elliott Management investment fund, said that it would only accept the release of the Argentine ship if the country pays at least 20 million dollars of the unpaid debt.
On Saturday Argentine President Cristina Fernández ordered the evacuation of the 326 crew and cadets from the vessel, leaving aboard only the captain and a small maintenance group, after accusations of human rights violations due to a judge’s refusal to allow the refuelling of the frigate.