BUENOS AIRES – Argentine Defense Minister Oscar Aguad received his US counterpart James Mattis on Wednesday, offering a warm welcome to the representative of one of Argentina’s “historical partners” and lamenting the estrangement that had occurred between the two countries in the recent past.
“Even though Argentina distanced itself from one of its main partners, we have returned to the path that we should never had strayed from,” Aguad said during a joint press conference prior to his meeting with Mattis.
The Argentine defense minister also thanked Mattis for the help that the US government provided to search for the ARA San Juan submarine, which disappeared off the coast of Argentina in November 2017.
“The United States is the country that provided the most help to search for the submarine. We want to thank the US government for the gesture, which will never be forgotten,” Aguad said.
Mattis praised Argentina’s “leadership” in the region, which, he said, would be on display during the upcoming Nov. 30-Dec. 1 G20 Summit hosted by Buenos Aires.
Pentagon sources told EFE that the two officials are expected to discuss Argentina’s leadership on issues related to cybernetic security, as well as to establish a common position on human rights and the rule of law.
After the meeting, the US delegation is expected to travel to Chile’s capital, which is the forth city included in Mattis’s first official visit to South America.
The US Secretary of Defense has visited Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, and after his trip to Santiago he will travel to Colombia, before returning to Washington on Friday.