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Putin thanks CFK for Crimea stance

A file photo shows President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner alongside Russian peer Vladimir Putin.

Putin thanks CFK for Crimea stance

At a time when Western powers are looking to isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin, he exchanged kind words yesterday with President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who had earlier criticized the alleged hypocrisy of the United States and Great Britain over the Crimean referendum.

Although Argentina rejected Russia’s annexation of Crimea when it came time to vote in the UN Security Council, Fernández de Kirchner questioned the “double standard” of the world powers that had praised last year’s referendum in the Malvinas Islands, where residents had voted to remain part of Britain.

“The Russian president spoke to the head of state about the Ukraine question and recognized Argentina’s position on Crimea,” the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

The Foreign Ministry went on to note that “Putin highlighted the importance of Argentina’s position by imposing the debate about the double standard that numerous countries have in relation to the United Nations Charter.”

The Kremlin also emphasized this point, noting that the call between Putin and Fernández de Kirchner stressed the “the assessment of the inadmissibility of the use by some Western states and associations of double standards.”

The call between Fernández de Kirchner and her Russian counterpart had been requested by the Russian embassy in Buenos Aires last Friday and was followed by a string of presidential Twitter messages in which the president emphasized the need for peaceful dialogue as a means to resolve conflicts and criticized the use of sanctions. The United States and its European partners have been taking progressive measures to isolate Russia after the annexation of Crimea last week and threats of economic sanctions if Russia incurs into Ukrainian territory beyond Crimea.

G8 becomes G7

For example, on Monday the United States and its Western allies confirmed that the planned G8 meeting in Sochi scheduled for early June has been cancelled, moved to Brussels and rebranded as a G7 meeting. Yesterday, US President Barack Obama further raised the rhetorical stakes and lauded the willingness of European nations to further enact sanctions if necessary (see page 12).

Argentina, which currently sits on the United Nations Security Council and is a member of the G20, has shown a balanced approach to the crisis, calling on the international community to respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine and ensure respect for the rights of ethnic and linguistic minorities.

Immediately following the Crimean referendum the United Nations Security Council held a vote on a resolution that declared the referendum invalid and not able to alter the territorial status of Ukraine. The resolution was vetoed by the Russian Federation but the Argentine delegation voted in favour.

Five days later, Argentine Ambassador to the United Nations María Cristina Perceval said that “country took no position on Ukraine’s internal affairs because, according to the United Nations Charter, there should be no intervention in the affairs of other states” and that “Argentina supported mediation” because “the situation could not be resolved through unilateral action.”

Nonetheless, the president has seized upon the critiques by the United States and the United Kingdom about the validity of the referendum that paved the way for the secession and later annexation of the Crimean peninsula and compared that stance London’s defence of a 2013 referendum in the Falklands to determine if the population wished to remain an overseas territory of the UK

The United Kingdom has made the wishes of the population a central component of the negotiations over the sovereignty of the islands and 99.8 percent of voters expressed their desire for the Malvinas for the status quo.

During a speech in Paris last week, Fernández de Kirchner compared the referendum in the Black Sea peninsula next to Russia to last year’s referendum by the Kelpers to keep the Malvinas British.

“Something that is fundamental for preserving world peace, for respecting international law, is to not have a double standard when it is time to make decisions,” the president said in Paris. “You can’t be in favour of territorial integrity in Crimea and against territorial integrity with the Malvinas in Argentina.”

Argentina has long insisted the Malvinas referendum was invalid and irrelevant to their claim on the islands, instead choosing to focus on the precedent set by United Nations General Assembly resolutions that request the United Kingdom and Argentina sit down and find a negotiated solution to the dispute.

The Russian overture and expression of “proximity” of positions also included discussions with the president about the general status of Russian-Argentine relations, and the prospects for enhancing economic and trade opportunities between Buenos Aires and Moscow with a focus on energy.

A closer relationship between Russia and Argentina could provide economic benefits, particularly in the energy sector. YPF CEO Miguel Galuccio visited Gazprom, the Russian state-owned gas and oil giant, in early February to discuss joint investment opportunities within the context of increased attention in Argentina’s energy resources.

Herald staff

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