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15 Apr, 2010 10:42

Russian-Argentinean relations have reached a new level – President Medvedev

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has held talks with his Argentinean counterpart Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner during his first official visit to the country on Wednesday, April 14.

It is the first such trip by a Russian head of state in over a century, as Moscow seeks to increase its footprint in the region.

“Today is a very special day. In 200 years of Argentine history, a female Argentine president receives the first Russian president to visit our country,” said the Argentinean leader.

The meeting between Medvedev and Kirchner was indeed productive: they have signed ten agreements in the fields of military-technical cooperation, energy, space and transport.

Russia's president said the closer fostering of ties with Latin America shouldn't be any cause for concern for anyone else.

“Russia has returned to Latin America. We did it quite energetically last year. Russia's stance on South America has changed. We think that our friends live here, people who are close to us. We would like to develop close ties with them,” Medvedev announced.

“The world is global, and nobody has a monopoly on that truth, so I hope it is not a problem for anyone. But if it is a problem for someone, then we could not care less,” he added.

The Russian president said that he got the impression that there are “reasonable people in the White House in Washington, and if that is so, they will not take it with fear.”

Medvedev’s Argentinean counterpart stressed, “The world has changed, it has become global and multifaceted, and the Latin American region has changed.”

“We live in one world and nobody, not even the strongest country, has the right to impose its position on other states,” Kirchner underlined.

Back in the 1990s, Russia was not allowed by the US to enter the Latin American nuclear energy market. Instead, Russia went into Iran, which is now a problem, so Brazil was sealed off from Russia’s nuclear plants and the full blame for this situation lays on America, noted Russian TV anchor, Sergey Brilev.

Still, “there is no clash between the US and Russia in the Latin American region” because Russia is only entering the markets that were left by the Americans, like the arms market of Venezuela or nuclear energy market of Brazil.

“We should not be looking at Latin America with a complex of superiority. It is becoming a self-sufficient region. Brazil produces virtually everything. Brazil is in fact the eighth economy of the world. If you compose the G8 by the GDPs – it is Brazil that should be there instead of several other countries,” stated Sergey Brilev, and said that Russia has the energy technology that Latin America currently lacks.

Russia & Argentina to boost business ties

According to Medvedev, what is most important is that real actions should follow the signings.

“Now it is difficult to calculate the whole volume of investments,” he said. “But talking about atomic energy, for example, the arrival of the Russian company Rosatom alone to the Argentinean market will result in several billion dollars of investments, which have to be invested into the creation of energy blocks and infrastructure.”

Russia's state-run nuclear power corporation Rosatom and Argentina's Ministry of Federal Planning signed a protocol on cooperation in the field of civilian nuclear energy.

The Russian president mentioned that projects of this sort usually produce a multiplicative effect, which allows for the development of not only the energy sphere, but also for the creation of new workplaces and new projects, and for developing the field of business.

Dmitry Medvedev also stated that “the relations between Russia and Argentina have arrived at a new level – relations that are mature, relations that are a strategic partnership,” adding, “As I see it, this corresponds to the interests of both of our nations.”

The two countries have also signed a contract on the supply of two MI-171 E transport helicopters from Russia to Argentina and a memorandum on cooperation in the sphere of railway transportation.

The meeting was held in light of the 200th anniversary of Argentina’s statehood and the 125th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations between Russia and Argentina.