During an inter-ministerial conference of 18 countries held on Friday following an invitation by France, Spain and the European Union, Foreign Minister Felipe Solá warned against the current and future consequences of the pandemic. He highlighted President Alberto Fernandez’s proposal to create a Global Humanitarian Emergency Fund, presented at the G20 Summit last March as part of the idea for a Comprehensive Global Solidarity Pact. “All countries will inevitably have to deal with the social, economic and political impact of the pandemic,” Solá said. “We are already talking about 30 million new poor in Latin America.”
The Foreign Minister described the World Health Organization as a scientific reference and expressed support for the work of the Pan-American Health Organization, “which has helped Venezuelans living in Venezuela.”
He told his counterparts that “at the moment, Argentina is negotiating its sovereign debt with private bondholders, and will then negotiate its debt to the IMF.” He explained that during the previous administration “our country took on USD 180 billion in debt, most of which left the country by way of capital flight due to the situation Argentina was in then.”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship─accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Pablo Tettamanti and the Chief of the Private Office of the Foreign Ministry, Guillermo Justo Chaves─was one of the signatories to the final statement of the conference, which begins with a “tribute to the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic” and expresses gratitude “for the dedication, efforts and sacrifices beyond the call of duty of health professionals, health workers and other frontline workers”.
The document reaffirms the determination to fight the pandemic “and its consequences, particularly the socio-economic impact,” based on the desire for “our people to live in fair, humanitarian, prosperous, sustainable and democratic societies.”
After stating that “the European Union is the largest investor in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as their greatest source of cooperation,” Solá remarked that the Latin American region and the Caribbean “have traditionally been one of the drivers of growth of the international economy.”
“We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affects the most vulnerable, with repercussions on health and development advances, particularly in developing countries, thus hindering the achievement of the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals. He also underscored “our support for the UN and especially the WHO.”
The Foreign Minister reiterated Argentina’s support for the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator initiative, which according to its mission statement “works to accelerate development, production, and equitable universal access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines, and to strengthen the countries’ health systems, particularly those that are most vulnerable and for the groups in society most in need.”
The signatory countries are Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, Slovenia, Spain, France, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, Dominican Republic and Sweden, in addition to Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.