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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.

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageArgentine President Carlos Menem greets a member of the U.S. Department of Defense delegation following talks with Defense Secretary William Cohen May 23 in Buenos Aires. Menem called on the United States as "the most powerful nation on Earth" to help Argentina combat terrorism. Douglas J. Gillert  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageDefense Secretary William Cohen and Argentine President Carlos Menem pose for photos after the two met at the presidential residence in Buenos Aires. Menem presented Cohen a gift -- a history book on the Argentine national dance, the tango -- following their May 23 meeting. The secretary visited Buenos Aires during a five-day visit to Latin America. Douglas J. Gillert  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageDefense Secretary William Cohen and Argentine President Carlos Menem meet delegates of both their nations following talks at the presidential residence in Buenos Aires. Among the topics the two discussed May 23 was cooperation between the United States and Argentina in dealing with international terrorism. Douglas J. Gillert  
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