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Foreign relations of Argentina

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This article deals with the diplomatic affairs, foreign policy and international relations of Argentina.

At the political level, these matters are officially handled by the Ministry of Foreign Relations, also known as the Cancilleria, which answers to the President. Since 2005-12-01 the Minister of Foreign Relations is Chancellor Jorge Taiana.

History

Relations with Chile

Main article: Argentina-Chile relations

Since declaring its independence in 1816, Argentina has had traditionally difficult relations with its neighbor Chile. The Beagle conflict almost caused a war between the two countries in 1978, on the basis of disputed islands on the Atlantic-Pacific line. The conflict was resolved by mediation of Pope John Paul II and in the form of a Peace and Friendship Treaty (Tratado de Paz y Amistad) in 1984, granting the islands to Chile and most maritime rights to Argentina. After that, other border disputes with Chile were resolved by peaceful means. Under presidents Carlos Menem and Fernando de la Rua, international relations improved, and Argentine officials now publicly deny seeing a potential threat from any neighboring country.

Menem Presidency

Argentina jointly re-established diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom in 1990, eight years after the Falklands War which had cost the lives of some 900 Argentine and British after a failed invasion of the disputed islands by the former military junta.

During the government of President Carlos Menem , Argentina had a strong partnership with the United States. It was at this time that Argentina left the Non-Aligned Movement and adopted a policy of "automatic alignment" with the United States.

Argentina was the only Latin American country to participate in the 1991 Gulf War and all phases of the Haiti operation. It has contributed to United Nations peacekeeping operations worldwide, with Argentine soldiers/engineers and police/Gendarmerie serving in El Salvador-Honduras-Nicaragua (where Navy patrol boats painted white were deployed), Guatemala, Ecuador-Peru, Western Sahara, Angola, Kuwait, Cyprus, Croatia, Kosovo, Bosnia, and East Timor.

In recognition of its contributions to international security and peacekeeping, U.S. President Bill Clinton designated Argentina as a major non-NATO ally in January 1998. The country is currently the only nation in Latin America that holds this distinction.

At the United Nations, Argentina supported United States policies and proposals, among them the condemnations of Cuba on the issue of human rights, and the fight against international terrorism and narcotics trafficking. In November 1998, Argentina hosted the United Nations conference on climate change, and in October 1999 in Berlin, became one of the first nations worldwide to adopt a voluntary greenhouse gas emissions target.

Argentina also became a leading advocate of non-proliferation efforts worldwide. After trying to develop nuclear weapons during the 1976 military dictatorship, Argentina scrapped the project with the return of democratic rule in 1983, and became a strong advocate of non-proliferation efforts and the peaceful use of nuclear technologies.

Since the return of democracy, Argentina has also turned into strong proponent of enhanced regional stability in South America, the country revitalized its relationship with Brazil; and during the 1990s (after signing the 1984 Treaty) settled lingering border disputes with Chile; discouraged military takeovers in Ecuador and Paraguay; served with the United States, Brazil and Chile as one of the four guarantors of the Ecuador-Peru peace process. Argentina's reputation as a mediator was damaged, however, when President Menem and some members of his cabinet were accused of approving the illegal sale of weapons to Ecuador and to Croatia.

In 1998, President Menem made a state visit to the United Kingdom, and the Prince of Wales reciprocated with a visit to Argentina. In 1999, the two countries agreed to normalize travel to the Falklands/Malvinas Islands from the mainland and resumed direct flights.

In the 1990s, Argentina was an enthusiastic supporter of the Summit of the Americas process, and chaired the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) initiative.

Kirchner Presidency

Within the term of President Nestor Kirchner, from 2003 onwards, Argentina suspended its policy of automatic alignment with the United States and moved closer to other Latin American countries. Argentina no longer supports the UN Commission on Human Rights resolution criticizing the "human rights situation in Cuba" and calling upon the Government of Cuba to "adhere to international human rights norms", but has chosen instead to abstain. In the 2006 United Nations Security Council election, Argentina supported, like all Mercosur countries, the candidacy of Venezuela (a Mercosur member) over Guatemala for a non-permanent seat in the Security Council

The Mercosur has become a central part of the Argentine foreign policy, with the goal of forming a Latin American trade block. Argentina has chosen to form a block with Brazil when it comes to external negotiations, though the economic asymmetries between South America's two largest countries had produced tension sometimes.

Between November 4 and November 5, 2005, the city of Mar del Plata hosted the Fourth Summit of the Americas. Although the themes were unemployment and poverty, most of the discussion was focused on the FTAA. The summit was a failure in this regard, but marked a clear split between the countries of the Mercosur, plus Venezuela, and the supporters of the FTAA, led by the United States, Mexico and Canada. FTAA negotiations have effectively stalled until at least the conclusion of the 2006 Doha round global trade talks.

In 2005, Argentina assumes again ( see history here ) the two-year non-permanent position on the UN Security Council.

As of 2007, under Kirchner's almost four years in power, Argentina entered into 294 bilateral agreements, including 39 with Venezuela, 37 with Chile, 30 with Bolivia, 21 with Brazil, 12 with the People's Republic of China, 10 with Germany, 9 with the United States and Italy, and 7 with Cuba, Paraguay, Spain and Russia.

Issues

Argentina claims U. K.-administered Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), as well as South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

It also has a territorial claim in Antarctica.

According to a 1998 treaty with Chile, 50 kilometers section of the boundary in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field is still pending of maping and demarcation.

In November 2006, an Argentine judge issued an arrest warrant for former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani over the 1994 bombing in Buenos Aires of the Jewish-Argentine Mutual Association (AMIA) community center. The federal judge also issued international arrest warrants for eight other ex-Iranian officials [*]. Iran decided not to pursue with the warrant and warned Argentina of consequences. As a result, President Nestor Kirchner ordered the security forces to be on the alert for incidents similar to the 1994 bombing [*].

References

Historia de las Relaciones Exteriores Argentinas by Carlos Escude and Andres Cisneros

See also

Argentina-Brazil relations

List of twin towns and sister cities in Argentina

State-Church relations in Argentina (for relations with the Holy See)

Argentine energy crisis (2004)

Argentine diplomatic missions

List of diplomatic missions in Argentina

Mar del Plata Summit of the Americas (2005)

Cellulose plant conflict between Argentina and Uruguay

Military of Argentina

External links

Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Comercio Internacional y Culto - Official website of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Relations, International Trade and Worship.

The Special Relationship between Argentina and Brazil

Historia de las Relaciones Exteriores Argentinas. Obra dirigida por Carlos Escude y Andres Cisneros. Obra desarrollada y publicada bajo los auspicios del Consejo Argentino para las Relaciones Internacionales (CARI), en el contexto de las tareas de su Centro de Estudios de Politica Exterior (CEPE).

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Foreign relations of Argentina