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Argentine and Russian Presidents Hold Cordial Three-Hour Meeting in Moscow, Forge Closer Partnership

Feb. 3, 2022 (EIRNS)—Argentine President Alberto Fernández and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a very cordial three-hour meeting at the Kremlin today, followed by a working luncheon, and from all accounts clearly hit it off. During their initial personal remarks and in a joint press conference afterwards, they expressed respect for each other and the potential for working more closely together on bilateral as well as on global issues. As Putin put it during the press conference,

“the exchange of views on global and regional problems showed that Russia and Argentina hold similar or identical positions on many issues. Our countries firmly uphold the principles of the supremacy of international law, sovereignty, independence and non-interference in the domestic affairs of foreign states. We agreed to continue coordinating our efforts on key multilateral issues at international venues, including the UN.”

Argentina, he said, “is one of our key partners in Latin America.”

Both leaders were genuinely pleased at being able to meet face to face, after many delays due to the coronavirus pandemic. They agreed that meeting in Moscow rather than on the sidelines of the Beijing Olympics was more amenable to a relaxed discussion on the many topics they wanted to discuss—cooperation in oil and gas infrastructure, railroad construction, nuclear energy, aerospace, vaccine production, expansion of trade and investment, and technology transfer. Fernández especially thanked Putin for having provided Argentina with the Sputnik V vaccine at a time when vaccines were scarce. “We were deeply grateful for this assistance, because the rest of the world did not help us with vaccines,” Fernández said. Putin said he was thankful that Argentina was the first country in the Western Hemisphere to register the Sputnik V vaccine, and that now 6 million doses have been produced in Argentina’s own laboratories. Fernández made the point that their bilateral cooperation on vaccine production was exemplary, because “we became a stepping stone in the supply of the Russian vaccines to Ecuador, Peru, and Paraguay, and this is very important.”

In fact, said Fernández, “I believe Argentina could become Russia’s gateway to Latin America to a certain extent. We could be a venue for the development of your cooperation with Latin American nations.” In remarks that must have caused heartburn in Washington and London, Fernández observed that in the 1990s and then after 2015, Argentina had become very dependent on the United States and on the IMF—which is why it has such a huge foreign debt. When Peronist governments were in power from 2003 to 2015, “we tried to get out of that corset we [were stuck in] with the U.S.,” and that’s when Argentina made progress in signing its strategic partnership with Russia.” And now, he said, it’s time for Argentina to end that dependence on the U.S. and the Fund, and “open the way to other locations.” In this context, he said, “Russia holds a very important place” in the building of “a new multilateralism.”

As an indication of how well they got along, Fernández reported that during their meeting, Putin showed him the large framed pictures of his parents and told him their story. “It was a dialogue with much confidence, a very frank and open conversation. We were very much in tune” with each other, he said.

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