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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 5, 1996


Meeting with Argentine President Menem

The President met today with Argentine President Carlos Menem and several members of the Argentine Cabinet to review the relationship with one of our closest international partners. To enhance and strengthen that relationship, the two leaders agreed to establish a special Consultative Process with regular, senior-level meetings between our two governments. This Consultative Process will address important issues in our bilateral relationship.

The President applauded Argentina's continuing role as a driving force for democracy in the Americas. The two leaders also reviewed progress in implementing commitments from the first Summit of the Americas, which the President hosted two years ago this week in Miami. They reaffirmed their commitment to the Summit goal of a Free Trade Area of the Americas and agreed to cooperate closely with Chile as we prepare for the Santiago Summit of the Americas in March 1998.

The President expressed appreciation for Argentina's continued strong support for our joint foreign policy initiatives around the world, including in Bosnia, where 40 Argentine police monitors serve in the UN s International Police Task Force, and in Zaire, where Argentina is helping to address the humanitarian crisis. They also reviewed our growing commercial ties, taking note of the fact that two-way trade between the United States and Argentina now exceeds six billion dollars per annum.

President Menem extended to President Clinton an invitation to visit Argentina. The President affirmed that he hopes to visit the region sometime early in his second term.

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