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Argentina FM: "I am "fed up" with US "meddling"

From China, where the Argentine government is paying an official visit, Argentine Foreign Minister, Rafael Bielsa, replied to a top US diplomat who deliberately spoke on internal affairs of the South American country.

No margin for diplomatic declarations. Argentine Foreign Minister, Rafael Bielsa, said on Tuesday that he was “fed up” with US “meddling” and interference on internal affairs, as a reply to a “top US diplomat” who had said off the record to the local press, that Washington was concerned over demonstrators and the actions of local social organizations. Bielsa, said US top diplomat for Latin America, Roger Noriega –a Cuban born hardliner anti-Castrist ideologist- was behind declarations, something that the US State Department official denied on Wednesday.

"In all honesty, the Argentine government is fed up with Mr. Noriega’s meddling in Argentina's internal affairs," Bielsa told the local radio station Del Plata from China, where he is accompanying President Nestor Kirchner on an official visit. Bielsa identified Noriega as the "high-level State Department official" who told two Argentine dailies that the United States was "very concerned" about the activities of poor and unemployed picketers who were blocking roads and taking over the offices of multinational firms, as the US McDonald’s and the Spanish Repsol.

The US top diplomatic source responsible for the remarks had met with Argentine main newspapers and told them that the US government was concerned over the social tension in the South American country, as urged Kirchner's administration to speed up structural political and financial reforms. Declarations appeared in the front pages of the local newspapers and led to the declarations of the FM, in official visit to China.

US State Department remarks, came shortly after Argentina signed important cooperation agreements with Russia, in Moscow, which included military and technical understandings. It also came shortly after China said it fully supported Argentina's bid to restructure its $94 billion foreign debt, by paying 25% of it.

Bielsa said he wanted to raise the issue with US Secretary of State Colin Powell but was not able to, as Powell was travelling to Turkey for the NATO summit at the time. He said he had spoken, however, with US ambassador Lino Gutierrez, who "apologized" for the remarks.

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