Friday, October 30, 2020
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ARGENTINA | 03-03-2020 21:20

UK minister for Americas arrives in Argentina for bilateral meetings

Wendy Morton MP discusses climate change, human rights, trade opportunities in talks with Argentine officials.

Wendy Morton MP, Britain's Minister for Europe and the Americas, arrived in Argentina on Monday, a day after attending Uruguay President Luis Lacalle Pou's inauguration in Montevideo. 

The UK official was in Buenos Aires for a series of meetings, including face time with Deputy Foreign Minister Pablo Tettamanti and Productive Development Minister Matías Kulfas, with whom she discussed trade and investment possibilities between the two countries. Talks also explored post-Brexit opportunities for bilateral cooperation.

Talks with Tettamanti touched on climate change and human rights, the UK Embassy in Buenos Aires said in a statement.

"This trip highlights the UK's commitment to work with the governments of Latin America, expanding our relationships in the areas of trade, climate change and global security," Morton said in a post on Twitter. “We are determined to work together on the problems that affect both countries."

Hailing current relations, she added that Argentina and the UK's co-charing of "the Coalition for Equal Rights is a testament to the strength of our relationship.”

The Equal Rights Coalition is the first intergovernmental network formed to promote and protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people around the world.

The MP for the West Midlands constituency of Aldridge-Brownhills also found time to meet with Sergio Chodos, Argentine representative to the International Monetary Fund, and Maia Colodenco, the Economy Ministry's director for international relations. 

Following the meeting, which UK Ambassador to Argentina Mark Kent also attended, Morton offered her support for the Argentine government's debt restructuring talks with the IMF.

“The UK and the international community want Argentina to have a prosperous and stable economy. We hope that Argentina can achieve an agreement with the IMF on the way forward,” said the British official.

Malvinas

Morton arrived in Buenos Aires less than 24 hours after President Alberto Fernández reiterated Argentine claim over the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands and announced he would send legislation to Congress that would strengthen "sovereignty" over the disputed territory. 

The islands have been in British hands since 1833 but Argentina has waged a diplomatic battle since the 1960s to try to gain control of the archipelago. Argentine troops invaded the windswept islands for 74 days in 1982, before British forces defeated them.

Fernández, who took office on December 10, announced in a flagship speech to Congress on Sunday that he will present three bills regarding the Malvinas and its surroundings in the coming weeks.

The Peronist president, who has adopted a harsher rhetorical tone than his predecessor Mauricio Macri on the disputed islands, said the measures would strengthen "sovereignty rights" and "tighten sanctions" on those who "illegally" exploit the natural resources of the archipelago.

Before lawmakers, he explained that the first bill would look to create a national council for affairs related to the islands, which he said would shore-up state policies related to the archipelago. According to Fernández, the council will include a diverse set of members, including representatives of the opposition, academics, representatives from Tierra del Fuego Province, and former combatants who were involved in 1982 conflict.

A second piece of legisation would explore the demarcation for "the outer boundary of the Argentine maritime platform," the president added, saying the objective was a strengthening of "sovereignty rights" and "increased legal security", within the framework of "exploitation of hydrocarbons and minerals."

Meanwhile, a third project would create a "Federal Fisheries Regime" that would "tighten penalties for those who fish illegally from the country's natural resources," the Frente de Todos leader declared.

—TIMES/PERFIL

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