Buenos Aires, Brazil - Today, U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra launched in Buenos Aires a High-Level Dialogue (HLD) to strengthen a bilateral partnership that is rooted in common values, principles, and interests.
They agreed that the HLD will aim to deliver tangible results in expanding ties, fostering shared prosperity, and promoting bilateral cooperation on inclusive economic development, trade and investment, labor, tourism, and educational exchanges. The HLD will also address common global and regional challenges in areas such as democracy and human rights, peacekeeping, security cooperation, non-proliferation, the environment, climate change, and clean energy.
As part of the Dialogue, Foreign Minister Malcorra hosted a working lunch to discuss economic challenges, reform priorities, and bilateral cooperation in support of Argentina’s reintegration into the international financial community and sustainable economic growth in both our countries.
The United States and Argentina reviewed progress and built on the positive bilateral agenda established when President Mauricio Macri hosted a landmark visit by President Barack Obama to Argentina on March 23-24, 2016. Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Malcorra agreed their teams would hold additional discussions under the rubric of the High-Level Dialogue later this year, with annual meetings thereafter.
Addressing Global Challenges
Argentina and the United States agree on the imperative need to address the humanitarian tragedy involving the global refugee crisis, and to support a rapid and concrete answer by the international community. Secretary Kerry commended President Macri’s decision to receive 3,000 Syrian refugees in Argentina and to provide humanitarian aid in Syria´s neighboring countries. The United States will support Argentina´s efforts as part of a shared responsibility by partnering with other international donors.
Secretary Kerry commended Argentina’s announcement earlier this year that it will enhance its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to combat climate change, and stressed the importance of an ambitious revised INDC. Our countries reaffirmed their commitment to work toward entry-into-force of the Paris Agreement this year, and to continue working together to achieve the goal of adopting an amendment to phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by October 2016. Secretary Kerry warmly welcomed Argentina’s participation in the Our Ocean conference in September 2016 in Washington, DC.
Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Malcorra identified priorities in order to support Argentina’s contributions to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, including implementing $1.2 million in U.S. assistance.
Partnering in the Western Hemisphere
Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Malcorra reiterated their shared commitment to advancing peace, democracy, and human rights in the Americas. The leaders welcomed recent progress toward a final peace accord between Colombia and the FARC, and re-affirmed their commitment to supporting Colombia’s efforts to secure a just and lasting peace. The United States commended Argentina for providing unarmed international observers under the auspices of the future UN Political Mission, as well as demining, technical assistance, and humanitarian aid once the peace accord is signed.
The leaders also discussed the situation in Venezuela. They welcomed the news that Venezuela’s National Electoral Council verified the necessary signatures to allow the recall referendum to move to the petition phase. They urged the Venezuelan authorities to promptly set a time table for the rest of the process. They expressed their support for a timely, national, inclusive, and effective political dialogue to address the immediate needs of the Venezuelan people. They also reiterated the Statement of the Ministers and heads of Delegations to the OAS on June 15, 2016 on the situation in Venezuela, as well as the good offices of UNASUR and the former presidents of Panama and the Dominican Republic, and the former head of government of Spain, aimed at promoting a comprehensive dialogue towards a peaceful, lasting, and constitutional solution.
Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Malcorra supported the call by the international community for holding peaceful, transparent, and credible elections in Haiti, aimed at democratically electing a president as soon as possible
Protecting Human Rights
Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Malcorra reiterated their commitment to strengthen the Organization of American States and its Inter-American Human Rights System, and to continue cooperating in the UN and other international fora to promote universal values. At President Macri’s request, and in keeping with President Obama’s commitment to declassify additional U.S. government records related to human rights abuses by the Argentine military dictatorship, Secretary Kerry delivered a first tranche of declassified documents to President Macri.
Fostering Economic Growth
Secretary Kerry welcomed the measures adopted by Argentina to create the necessary conditions to restore sustainable economic growth and promote increased foreign direct investment, noting that resolution of the long-standing dispute with the bondholder holdouts was a critical step in that direction. Secretary Kerry commended Argentina’s efforts to reintegrate into the international financial community, including through reestablishing consultations with the International Monetary Fund and committing to chair the G-20 in 2018. Expressing the mutual desire to strengthen regional trade ties, the United States welcomed Argentina’s entry into the Pacific Alliance as an observer nation. The leaders noted the important role of cooperation between our governments and with the private sector to lift trade barriers, increase market access, protect intellectual property rights, and identify investment opportunities in both countries. In this regard, they looked forward to the first meeting of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement to take place in Buenos Aires on August 29, and the first Commercial Dialogue to take place in Washington, DC later this year. The leaders determined to expand exchanges between technical agencies in areas such as anti-trust, telecommunications, census data collection, single trade windows, small business development, entrepreneurship, and anti-money laundering. The United States reiterated its commitment to support trade missions, noting the inclusion of Argentina in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Trade Winds – Latin American mission in September 2016.
Welcoming Argentina´s interest in deepening its engagement with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Secretary Kerry applauded Argentina for joining the OECD’s Advisory Board for the Latin America and Caribbean Regional Forum.
Law Enforcement Cooperation
Secretary Kerry announced that, subject to completion of congressional notification requirements, the United States intends to dedicate up to $1.5 million in foreign assistance funds to further support Argentina’s efforts to achieve sustainable reform in its law enforcement and criminal justice systems. Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Malcorra recognized the importance of expeditious resolution of Hague Abduction Convention cases in both countries. In light of this, Argentina and the United States expressed their intention to expedite the judicial processing of these cases taking into due consideration their respective legislations.
Enhancing People-to-People Ties
The United States and Argentina signed a separate Joint Statement to arrange for Argentina’s participation in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Global Entry program, which permits expedited processing at U.S. international airports for qualified citizens. Argentina is the ninth nation in the world to join the program.
Energy, Science, and Education Cooperation
The United States announced that subject to the availability of funds, the Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources intends to dedicate up to $2.6 million in assistance funds to provide technical and regulatory support to Argentina. Secretary Kerry and Minister Malcorra committed to continue cooperation in scientific and technological research, particularly on marine conservation. Both sides look forward to advancing our longstanding civil nuclear cooperation at the Joint Standing Committee on Nuclear Energy Cooperation this month. They announced they intend to launch in Buenos Aires on August 9-10 a bilateral digital economy working group to share expertise on information and communications technology. They also discussed a $3 million U.S. Department of Labor technical assistance project in Argentina that will focus on youth training opportunities with an emphasis on the most vulnerable and marginalized.