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ARGENTINA in BRIEF

Foreign Policy

The main thrust of Argentine Foreign Policy can be summarized as follows:

Argentina abides by the United Nations Charter maintaining friendly relations with the different member States.  It respects the decisions emanated from the General Assembly and the Security Council participating in peacekeeping activities decided by the Organisation.

At regional level Argentina attaches great importance to the relations with Latin America and the Caribbean countries.  MERCOSUR (the Common Market set up by Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay) is a model of economic integration based on freedom and democracy, in which cooperation is at the very heart of the system. Bolivia and Chile have become associate partners of MERCOSUR through the negotiation of a free trade agreement with the four original members.

As a demonstration of the excellent relations with neighbouring countries in the area of security and defence, Argentina proposed the adoption of the political declaration of MERCOSUR, Bolivia and Chile as a zone of peace, which was signed at the MERCOSUR summit held in Argentina on July 24th 1998.

On nuclear issues, Argentina was the first country which, having mastered the nuclear fuel cycle, chose to limit the use of this technology to peaceful purposes.  This commitment has been shown through the following concrete steps: 

i) The ratification of the Tlatelolco Treaty in 1994 and the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1995, and 

ii) Becoming a member of the nuclear suppliers group.

In the chemical and bacteriological field, Argentina was the country that promoted the Mendoza Declaration of 1991, an engagement originally limited to Argentina, Brazil and Chile which was later extended to most Latin American countries.  Domestic legislation was also adopted to strictly control exports related to the dual use of chemical products, bacteriological substances and missile technology.

The vitality of democratic ideals in the region was confirmed with the signing of the Ushuaia protocol on July 24th 1999, as a follow up of the Mendoza Declaration.  This protocol established the region as an area free of weapons of mass destruction, and reaffirmed that only countries ruled democratically can be members of MERCOSUR.  It was signed by Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.

With regard to conventional weapons, Argentina strongly supports the UN Arms Register to which it regularly provides information.  It also supports other important initiatives recently adopted within the framework of the Organisation of American States (OAS), such as the Convention which forbids the production and illicit traffic of weapons, ammunition, explosives, and related materials.  Traffic on small arms constitutes another source of international concern; it is worth mentioning that regional and international seminars have recently been held in Buenos Aires on this topic.

Argentina is not indifferent to the grave scourge of antipersonnel mines.  In 1995, it established a moratorium on the exports of mines and more recently, in December 1997 in Ottawa, Argentina signed the Convention on the prohibition of Antipersonnel Mines.

In its region Argentina works earnestly and in a spirit of commitment to overcome all differences by means of negotiation.  As each of the few cases of pending bilateral disputes are gradually resolved, the Latin American continent is definitively consolidating as a zone of peace.

The resurgence of terrorist attacks comes as a harsh reminder that no state is immune to terrorism.  Argentina firmly supports the initiatives underway to supplement the network of anti-terrorism rules currently in force with new conventions, leading to enhanced international cooperation and the establishment of the obligation of all states to bring to justice and punish those responsible for these terrorist acts.

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The year 1998 marked the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and of the adoption of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.  Connected with this are the severe global humanitarian crises, which are usually accompanied by large displacement of people.  Argentina has joined the international community's efforts with bilateral assistance programs.  In 1998, Argentina commemorated the 40th Anniversary of its participation in peacekeeping operations.  The vast experience acquired over these past forty years has been embodied in the Argentine joint training centre for peace-keeping operations, and in the training centre of the Argentine Gendarmerie specialising in civilian police operations.  Members of the Armed Forces and the Gendarmerie are serving under the United Nations´ peacekeeping operations in different places all around the world, including Cyprus, Croatia, East Timor, and Kosovo.

Argentina's natural interest in the South Atlantic is reflected in its participation in the zone of peace and cooperation that brings together twenty four African and Latin American countries on both shores of the Atlantic Ocean.  On the 21st and 22nd October 1999, Argentina was the venue of the Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Member Countries of the South Atlantic Zone of Peace and Cooperation.

Unfortunately, an important issue remains unresolved in the South Atlantic: the sovereignty dispute between the Argentine Republic and the United Kingdom regarding the Malvinas Islands.  The dispute’s existence has been unequivocally recognised in many Resolutions of the General Assembly and the Committee on Decolonisation, as well as in various international fora.  Argentina has repeatedly urged the United Kingdom to listen to the call of the international community and observe United Nations Resolutions that call upon both governments to resume negotiations on all aspects of this issue.

In spite of this dispute, Argentina has rebuilt its relationship with the United Kingdom and strengthened political, trade and cultural ties. This is evidenced by visits at the highest level between the two countries, most recently that of President Nestor Kirchner in 2003.

Argentina maintains the creation of a climate of mutual trust in the South Atlantic, cooperating with the United Kingdom as regards the preservation of fisheries resources and the exploration for hydrocarbons.

The deterioration of the environment, in its various forms, is one of the problems urgently requiring concrete answers and effective commitments by governments and the civil society.  In awareness of this necessity, Argentina hosted the Fourth Conference of Contracting Parties of the Convention on Climate Change and the Tenth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10), from 6-17 December 2004 in Buenos Aires.

In 2001 the city of Buenos Aires was elected as the permanent headquarters of the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat, which seeks to protect Antarctica's environment and natural habitat.

With regard to the reform of the Security Council, Argentina believes that the situation born out of the Second World War cannot prevail indefinitely.  It is necessary to find democratic solutions that will allow for periodic renewal of the members of the Security Council within the modalities chosen by each region, however, any increase in the numbers of permanent members should be based on rotation.  The viability of this reform will necessarily depend on the political engagement of the parties towards consensus.

 

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