Relations between Argentina and the United States are ‘excellent’ said ultra ‘Kirchnerite’ lawmaker Carlos Kunkel who discarded as ‘interested parties’ versions indicating certain ‘discomfort’ in President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner administration with the coming visit of President Barack Obama to El Salvador, Chile and Brazil.
“Our government respects Barack Obama’s work agenda and there’s no discomfort or hard feeling because on this trip he is not visiting Argentina” said Kunkel in an interview with a US television station when asked about the US president’s coming visit 19/23 March to the region.
Kunkel is currently in New York sponsoring a program that looks to integrate Argentine residents in the US.
“When he feels it appropriate, President Obama will be welcomed, as the leaders of all the countries that wish to visit us”, added Kunkel.
Asked when President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will be announcing her re-election bid, Kunkel said that “for that decision there’s time until June”, although “it could happen some time before”.
“Cristina has overcome the economic crisis resulting from international financial markets and I’m certain the people will support her for a second mandate”, added the lawmaker.
Regarding the US Air Force aircraft which was seized last February 10 for allegedly trying to introduce non declared equipments to Argentina and which created a diplomatic incident between the two countries, Kunkel said it was a “Customs infraction” that Argentina as “a sovereign state has rules it must comply with”.
The case presented in court by the government following Foreign Secretary Hector Timerman instructions on the discovery of alleged “sensitive material” was filed by the judge saying “no crime was committed”.
The US repeatedly asked for a return of the so called ‘sensitive material’ personally discovered by Minister Timerman (‘that stuff belongs to us, we want it back’ said the State Department spokesperson on several occasions).
Further more Argentina asked for a formal explanations and apology from the US over the incident.
Since the ruling both sides have downplayed the incident.
Cabinet Chief Aníbal Fernández referred to the “irregularities” detected in the probe over the military and medical equipment seized from the US Air Force plane as a “customs fault.”
Writing in his Twitter account, the minister added: “it was a Customs mistake, and I explained it as many times as I could.” And he went on: “the Customs Office did not inform the Judiciary because it didn’t apply” adding “the judge determined there was no crime”.
Finally regarding the bill which regulates audiovisual communications and is strongly rejected by media groups as ‘undemocratic and authoritarian’ Kunkel said the law has “full legitimacy” since it was voted by 146 to 4 in the Lower House and by 46 to 24 in the Senate.
“What is being discussed now has powerful opponents but many supporters”, said the Kircherite Deputy who claimed gross irregularities were committed in the purchase by Argentina’s leading newspapers Clarin and La Nacion of Papel Prensa, of the newsprint supplier Papel Prensa.
“The deal was forced during the military dictatorship in very doubtful circumstances and it’s up to the courts to decide now”.