Argentina's new government set for fresh debt talks

GMT 07:53 2015 Monday ,07 December

Arab Today, arab today Argentina's new government set for fresh debt talks

Argentina's president-elect Mauricio Macri
Buenos Aires - AFP

Argentina will send a team of negotiators to the United States in the coming few days, hoping for a fresh start to ongoing debt-crisis talks under its newly elected president, media reports said Sunday.

President-elect Mauricio Macri has given instructions "to initiate talks as soon as possible," his pick for finance minister, Alfonso Prat Gay,  told the daily newspapers Clarin and La Nacion.

The incoming government, which takes office this Thursday, hopes to end years of stalemate with the United States over efforts by Buenos Aires to restructure some $100 billion it defaulted on in 2001.

The standoff has tightly limited Argentina's ability to borrow on international markets.

Some US hedge-fund holders, which the outgoing Argentine administration had branded "vultures," have refused to join 93 percent of the country's creditors in restructuring the debt.

They and other "holdouts" have won US court support to recover 100 percent of the face value of their bonds, which Argentina rejects as unfair to the other creditors, which accepted sharp reductions in the value of their bonds to help the country rebuild its finances.

The US court has been able to block payments to holders of the restructured debt, saying Argentina must pay the hedge funds and a group of other holdout bondholders first.

Macri, a conservative, business-friendly former football executive, won last month's election, in a marked shift from the broad populist Peronism under his predecessor Cristina Kirchner -- a movement that has dominated Argentine politics for much of the past 70 years.

He has promised a sweeping overhaul of Kirchner's protectionist, hands-on economic policies.

Prat Gay cautioned that while the new Argentine government is eager to start negotiations, "engaging in talks does not mean that we are not going to be tough," he said, without giving a precise date for when the meetings will start.


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