Argentina and the IMF
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"During my brief, but productive, visit to Argentina, my first stop in South America as Managing Director, I have had the privilege to meet President Nestor Kirchner and to hold very constructive meetings with Minister Roberto Lavagna, Central Bank President Alfonso Prat-Gay and their economic teams.
"My main goal in coming to Buenos Aires was to offer my support to the President for normalizing Argentina's economy and standing in the financial markets, with a view to attracting the new investments necessary for sustaining growth and poverty reduction for the benefit of all its citizens. There are two particularly important and inter-twined elements in this regard: the completion of a comprehensive and sustainable restructuring of Argentina's sovereign debt to private creditors, and a supporting medium-term fiscal framework.
"In this context, I discussed with the President the steady improvement in Argentina's fiscal position since 2002 and the recovering banking system. Our discussions revealed many common understandings on the economic policy priorities that lie ahead. We agreed that prudent budgetary policy, within a framework of rising public savings, had been a key achievement of Argentina's federal government and provinces; this recent track record has bolstered consumer and investor confidence while also allowing considerable room for meeting the government's poverty reduction objectives. Safeguarding and building on this good performance in the future is a key policy priority and we look forward to a commensurately strong budget framework for 2005 and the medium term.
"The President and I agreed to resume program discussions at the first possible opportunity, and once we have had a chance to assess the outcome of the debt restructuring and the continued further work on the structural issues outlined in the structural reform agenda of Argentina's program supported by a Stand-By Arrangement with the Fund. I was encouraged by the President's continued commitment to the objectives of the program and his stated willingness to work together to find shared understandings on the policy requirements of the program."
IMF EXTERNAL RELATIONS DEPARTMENT