Today, Foreign Minister Felipe Solá participated alongside his Latin American and Caribbean counterparts in a video conference organized by the German government in order to jointly analyse economic measures to deal with COVID-19. In that context, special emphasis was placed on supporting the equitable global distribution of the vaccine as soon as it becomes available.
The first meeting of the “Latin America-Caribbean Initiative - Germany” took place in May 2019 in Berlin, and was hosted by the German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas.
In his address, Solá thanked “Germany for the invitation to this second meeting of Latin American and Caribbean Foreign Ministers,” and stated: “I wish to reiterate Argentina’s support for the WHO’s efforts in fulfilling its mandate as leader and coordinator of the response to contain, counter and prevent the spread of the virus.”
Shared views exist with regard to fighting the pandemic, searching for a vaccine, engaging in technological and scientific cooperation for research purposes, and mutual concern exists amongst our kindred nations as to how we are all faring.
“There is a shared sense that a vaccine and any other advances aimed at treating the disease should be a public good to which everyone can gain access. This is not a naive dream, and it would be a great step forward for humanity if it became a reality,” remarked the Minister, who was accompanied by the Deputy Foreign Minister, Pablo Tettamanti, and the Chief of the Private Office of the Foreign Ministry, Guillermo Justo Chaves.
“The other aspect that calls for common sense has to do with indebted countries. Argentina is highly indebted, a load our administration inherited. We are trying to restructure the debt from an honest, serious and sustainable position and we are deeply thankful for all the support we received in regard to both the debt to the IMF and the management of the sovereign debt,” added Solá.
The Argentine Foreign Minister also highlighted that: “Another issue of shared concern is how we are going to slowly recover from this immense financial crisis, especially middle-income countries where prosperity coexists with poverty." Along those lines, he commended the proposal for a six-month basic income, and the importance of reopening micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in order to protect jobs. “The recovery of the working capital of the companies that create jobs is also one of the biggest issues to be addressed”, he stated.
In this regard, he added: “There is also the problem of demand. We expect changes in demand patterns for Argentine and Latin American products worldwide as well as lower prices to go down as people will tend to cut back on consumption. I am talking about foreign and domestic demand. As decided by President Alberto Fernández, Argentina is making a great fiscal effort to preserve jobs and for people to be able to get back to their formal or even informal sector work.
“I agree with Alicia Bárcena of ECLAC that the world that is emerging will be regionalized, and I believe we need to seek closer ties, strengthen our cooperation and break the internal and external prejudices that isolate us,” the Foreign Minister remarked.
“I also agree with my Mexican counterpart, Marcelo Ebrard, on the need to guarantee vaccines for all, reduce debt, face this terrible crisis with a consensus-based response and avoid sanctions that are politically motivated but ultimately affect people’s lives,” Solá added.
Finally, the Argentine Foreign Minister stated that: “I hope we can grow closer to the EU and Germany, which has shown interest in this situation and in its ties with Latin America. We are all trying to learn how to deal with an unprecedented financial situation.”
The meeting was attended, among others, by the Executive Secretary of ECLAC, Alicia Bárcena, and the following Latin American Foreign Ministers: Heiko Maas (Germany), Ernesto Talvi (Uruguay), Ernesto Araújo (Brazil), Marcelo Ebrard Casaubón (Mexico), Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla (Cuba), Teodoro Ribera Neumann (Chile), Rodolfo Solano Quirós (Costa Rica), and Pedro Brolo (Guatemala).