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Montevideo, June 4th 2023 - 23:53 UTC



Argentine President back to Bs. Aires.

Saturday, January 31st 2004 - 20:00 UTC
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Kirchner and his delegation boarded the Tango 01 presidential plane yesterday evening to end a four-day official visit. They are expected back in Buenos Aires this morning after a re-fueling stop in Fortaleza, Brazil.

"It has been a very positive visit," said Cabinet Chief Alberto Fernández, who stood next to the President during most of the visit. "It was really worth coming. Right now, we have the best relationship possible with Spain and we are going to go deeper with it."

Fernández added that the President received "understanding" from Spanish government officials and business leaders and found them "willing" to continue to back the development of Argentina's economy.

On the trip's last day, the lightest in what was a busy agenda, Kirchner met with the heads of the Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) ? the owner of Banco Frances in Argentina ? and the directors of a group of companies with highway interests in Argentina. BBVA head Francisco Gonzalez Rodriguez backed Argentina's drive to renegotiate 88 billion dollars of public debt in default, government spokesmen said.

Fernández also said that the issue of utility rate hikes did not crop up in any of the meetings during the trip. "The rates issue was discussed in no meeting, absolutely in no meeting," said the Cabinet chief.

The Argentine delegation was very pleased yesterday at the outcome of the President's trip, which included meetings with Spanish King Juan Carlos, Prime Minister José María Aznar and the main candidates to succeed him after March's elections: ruling Popular Party's Mariano Rajoy and Socialist José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

The visit served to "improve the image of Argentina" in Spain after a few spats with businessmen during the first trip, officials said. Spanish companies invested 50 billion dollars in the 1990s in key sectors of Argentina's economy.

The Argentine community in Spain, meanwhile, was also happy yesterday at the President's defence of their stance. Talks with the king and with Aznar led to the creation of a special commission that will over the next 90 days review the situation of the some 80 to 120 thousand Argentines living and working in Spain without residency papers.

"We hold great expectations this commission is going to reach sensible conclusions," said Esteban Sívori, one of the heads of an association of Argentine immigrants in Madrid that met with Foreign Minister Rafael Bielsa yesterday. Government House, meanwhile, released a poll yesterday indicating that 51.2 percent of Argentines believed Kirchner's trip to Spain has been "positive."

Categories: Mercosur.

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