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Mattis: US, Argentina to Work Closely  08/16 06:15

   BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- The U.S. and Argentinian militaries will 
pursue closer cooperation on numerous fronts, including military education and 
training, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Wednesday after meeting with 
his counterpart during the first visit to Argentina by an American defense 
chief in 13 years.

   "We focused on what we can do working together as they go through very 
difficult economic times," Mattis told reporters as he was departing Buenos 
Aires for a flight to Santiago, Chile. "Both sides are very open to a stronger 
military-to-military relationship in complete transparency, so there cannot be 
any doubt about what's going on."

   Before they met, Mattis and Argentinian Defense Minister Oscar Aguad 
publicly expressed their hope for better ties. Mattis alluded to the help the 
U.S. Navy provided Argentina last November when one of its submarines went 
missing with 44 sailors aboard.

   The last U.S. secretary of defense to visit Argentina was Donald H. Rumsfeld 
in 2005.

   Mattis and Aguad announced no specific agreements, but both said they hope 
for better relations between their two countries.

   Aguad alluded to the chilly relations of recent years, which he said were 
now changing for the better. He told Mattis, "We have come back to the road we 
should never have left."

   Aguad also thanked Mattis for the help provided when the Argentine sub, ARA 
San Juan, disappeared in the South Atlantic last year. The U.S. Navy helped 
search for signs of the vessel, which remains missing.

   "We thank you once more for a gesture that will never be forgotten," Aguad 
said.

   Mattis also is visiting Chile and Colombia this week.


(KA)

 
 
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