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Montevideo, June 16th 2024 - 08:29 UTC



Preparing for the Kirchner-Lagos summit in Santiago.

Monday, November 29th 2004 - 20:00 UTC
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In coincidence with the twentieth anniversary of the Argentina-Chile Peace Treaty signing, Foreign Affairs ministers from the two countries, Rafael Bielsa and Ignacio Walker will be meeting this Monday to review some pending details of Argentine president Nestor Kirchner's firs official visit to neighbouring Chile.

The Kirchner-President Ricardo Lagos will also be the first taking place in Chilean territory and hopefully will close a year of confrontation following the natural gas supply crisis and the incident caused by an article written by Chilean Foreign Affairs minister Ignacio Walker which infuriated the Argentine president.

In the article published in Chile's main daily, El Mercurio" but which was written by political science professor Walker months before joining President Lagos cabinet, he describes ruling party Peronism as an "authoritarian and fascist oriented" party; President Kirchner's rule as an obsession with opinion polls and further insists that the real barrier between the neighbouring countries is not the Andes but Peronism.

Actually Mr. Walker wrote the article trying to understand Argentina's unilateral decision to severely restrict the contracted supply of natural gas to Chile claiming insufficient provision in the domestic market, which obviously had angered the Chilean administration.

The meeting of the two Ministers is more than symbolic particularly since it coincides with the two decades of the peace treaty that definitively put an end to the possibility of a war between both countries over the disputed Picton, Nueva and Lenox in the Tierra del Fuego channels.

In December 1978 Argentina was ready to invade Chile to recover sovereignty over the disputed islands but a last minute personal plea from Pope John Paul II to the then military dictators General Jorge Videla and General Augusto Pinochet suspended all military actions.

A peace protocol was signed in Montevideo, Uruguay, January 1979 and with the return of democracy in Argentina, former President Ricardo Alfonsín proposed a formal peace treaty signed in November 1984 and which was ratified by the Argentine electorate in a referendum.

The agenda for this Monday's ministerial meeting was agreed between Mr. Walker and Argentine ambassador in Santiago, Carlos Abihaggle.

Among the several issues there is scheduled a meeting of Defence ministers, Jaime Ravinet from Chile and Jose Pampuro from Argentina with the purpose of further advancing in confidence building at military level.

Categories: Mercosur.

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