Leaders Link U.S., Argentina to Terrorism Battle
By Douglas J. Gillert
American Forces Press Service
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, June 1, 1998 Defense Secretary William Cohen said the United States will work with Argentina to help battle international terrorism.
The topic arose when Cohen met May 23 with Argentine President Carlos Menem at the presidential residence here. Among the topics the two leaders discussed was increased cooperation between their countries in dealing with terrorism.
"As much as agreements exist [between nations]," Menem said, "the fight against this evil will be more effective." As the United States is the most powerful country on Earth, he said, it should be no surprise that terrorist groups target U.S. interests worldwide.
"That is the reason why the United States has more sophisticated tools to act in defense," Menem said.
The Argentine leader said he wants access to U.S. anti-terrorism information and technology to deal with terrorism in Argentina. Less than a week before Cohen's visit, the Argentine government revealed new evidence linking Iran-sponsored terrorists to two deadly attacks in Buenos Aires earlier this decade.
Cohen said the United States will cooperate with Argentina in sharing intelligence about international terrorist activities, what Menem referred to as a "scourge for all countries."
Cohen lauded the country's participation in U. N. peacekeeping efforts in Haiti, Bosnia and the Middle East, actions which led the United States last year to recognize Argentina as a major non-NATO U.S. ally. He said the meeting also offered him the chance to congratulate Menem on the growth of democracy in Argentina and his country's emergence as a peacekeeping power.
Cohen's visit with Menem coincided with his first trip to Latin America. He also met Argentine Defense Minister Jorge Dominguez and U.S. service members and their families before continuing his five-day South American visit with stops in Santiago, Chile, and Brasilia, Brazil.