In his toast to his Argentine hosts at the July 12 state dinner, Russian President Vladimir Putin underscored that his talks with President Fernandez de Kirchner and other government officials took place in an atmosphere of “mutual understanding, openness, sincerity, and trust.”
“I am confident,” Putin said, “that this is the solid foundation for further successful cooperation between our countries and peoples… including the improvement of the international financial system.” He especially stressed the close cultural ties that have evolved over 130 years of diplomatic relations, noting the many thousands of Russian immigrants who settled in Argentina. “South America’s largest Russian diaspora resides here in Argentina,” he said.
Putin also expressed Russia’s support for Argentina’s claim to sovereignty over the Malvinas, and the need for the United Kingdom to sit down and negotiate. He recalled President Fernandez’s remarks earlier this year pointing to the “double standard” held by the U.S. and UK, who loudly supported the British-orchestrated “self-determination” referendum held on the Malvinas, but denounced a similar referendum held in Crimea.
During the press conference held earlier in the day, the Russian President offered more details on the agreements that were signed, noting that 20% of hydropower generated in Argentina comes from Russian equipment. He reported that Russian companies are expected to take an active part in “the modernization of generating units and building of new power stations in the country.” Inter RAO UES will help build the Chihuido-1 hydropower station, worth $2 billion. Another company is working on a contract to supply $19 million worth of turbines to the Punta Negra hydropower station, and will also help to modernize the Argentine-Uruguayan Salto Grande hydro station.
Rosatom, he said, is bidding for the contract to build Atucha III. “We see great prospects for our cooperation in nuclear power generation…” There will be, he added, cooperation in other high-technology areas as well, including space exploration. In this regard, Russia expects to be able to deploy ground-based equipment for a GLONASS global positioning station in Argentina. Military cooperation includes the provision of helicopter equipment and military cargo planes for “joint operations in the Antarctic.”
Other agreements were signed on coperation in the area of IT and communications, including planning for the broadcast of RT-TV in Argentina around the clock on a dedicated channel. Overall, Putin said, Argentina “is a very comfortable partner for us.”