Argentina's Economy Minister Axel Kicillof has assured that progress has been made with creditors in the Paris Club as the politician left Monday evening for France in preparation for talks with the financial institution over restructuring Argentina's debt, estimated in 9.5bn dollars.
Kicillof made a brief speech in the Economy Ministry Monday evening before beginning his European voyage, where negotiations with the Paris Club will continue next Wednesday.
Reaching an accord would be an important milestone for Argentina since it could help the country return to international money markets from where it has been absent since 2001 because of the pending debts, and the country is currently undergoing a shortage of foreign currency.
However while admitting that the government has made firm advances towards an agreement, a timetable for any accord is still yet to be determined.
I am attending a meeting, not the close of negotiations, because in that case I would not have gone last time, he explained, referring to the previous trip he made to meet with creditors in January of this year.
Kicillof added that his predecessor at the Ministry, Hernán Lorenzino, and ex-Financing secretary Adrián Cosentino would also be taking part in talks. He is travelling with Finance Secretary Pablo López.
We have been working together for all this time, he said to reporters in the brief conference in his office in Buenos Aires.
Kicillof also pointed out that all negotiations with the Paris Club, since 1956, they have been previously agreed by the IMF, but this time we have nothing accorded on economic policy with the Fund; all we have done is present the road map for payment.
Under no circumstances will we accept conditions or discuss our economic plans or policies underlined the Argentine minister, who is considered an 'unorthodox'.
Finally Kicillof said that negotiations will be based on the three principles that have ruled Argentina's discussions with creditors: first that the Cristina Fernandez administration will honor commitments agreed as it has been doing since 2003.
Secondly, solutions must be sustainable in time and last but not least, payments can't put at risk the current economic model of Argentina.
The stumbling blocks are that, according to the Paris Club charter, the IMF must have a say in any understanding and that any decision by the group must be on consensus. Furthermore although the US seems flexible as well as other members, Japan and Germany (the main creditors) insist with the IMF auditing and a significant percentage down payment.
Allegedly in the first tentative program presented by Argentina, last January, the first down payment was not near what Japan and Germany aspired.
Argentina has pending debts with 15 of the 19 members of the Paris Club made up of Germany, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, US, Spain, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, Holland, US, Switzerland and Sweden