'Argentina will negotiate but will not commit suicide'
Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, who is in Washington to attend an OAS meeting today, intensified the government’s condemnation of vulture funds accusing NML founder Paul Singer of “playing with workers’ cancer” when the US billionaire bought "for cents" an American company that was reported for allegedly using toxic materials.
“(Paul) Singer bought a company for cents, cleaned it up with the help of lobbies and then the price of the company ramped up making him to win 1 billion dollars. He played with the cancer of workers. That is Paul Singer,” Timerman said in harsh statements to Argentine media this morning.
Singer – owner of the hedge fund that bought Argentina’s defaulted bonds and refused to enter the 2005 and 2010 debt swaps - had allegedly acquired a bankrupted firm whose workers said had got cancer due to the company’s use of toxic materials.
“What the vulture funds, (US) Judge Thomas Griesa and the world have realized is that Argentina will negotiate but will not commit suicide,” the FM told reporters adding the government will do “nothing” that goes against the country’s interests.
Ahead of today’s meeting at the OAS where along with Economy Minister Axel Kicillof Argentina will be bringing its debt restructuring process and current legal dispute against vulture funds to the world spotlight, Timerman considered highly "positive” the “international response” Buenos Aires has received in recent weeks.
“There is a very positive response regarding the support to the country. Never has a country gone to the OAS to say it wants to pay its debt and that it can not do it,” the official pointed out alluding also to all recent rulings by US courts favouring holdout creditors – first the decision by the US Supreme Court to refuse to hear the case, then a new setback when US District Court Judge Thomas Griesa refused to maintain a stay that prevented payment to vulture funds, increasing default fears here.
“This is not a fight between the Economy minister and vulture funds, international banks and Griesa. It has to be the first time in history that a country wants to pay its debt and a judicial ruling stops it,” the minister said stressing that nations that have decided to restructure their debts are being affected by this situation as well. “The ruling against Argentina and in favour of vulture funds affects 100 percent of Argentineans,” Timerman explained calling for a “change” in the international financial system.
“It is not equitable. They are affecting the interests of Argentina’s creditors that month after month get their payment.”
Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and Economy Minister Axel Kicillof are scheduled to address the OAS in Washington on Argentina’s legal dispute against vulture funds today at 4 pm, in a presentation to be broadcast live by the country’s state-run Televisión Pública news channel.