2012 Feb - Cover Story


Cristina Fernández, President of Argentina called for reform of multilateral financial institutions

CRISTINA FERNÁNDEZ, President of Argentina, said her Government had, since her predecessor Nestor Kirchner first stood before the Assembly in 2003, called for reform of multilateral financial institutions — particularly the IMF — as well as the United Nations. At that time, Argentina was considered a “black sheep” in the world economic community, although its problems stemmed from its being a guinea pig for the financial experiments of the 1990s. Today, the world was vastly changed, and Argentina had restructured its debt. Its unemployment rate was low and, in the Latin American region, it was enjoying leading growth levels.

Taking up the issue of financial speculation, she said a look at the relationship between global financial stocks and gross national product (GNP) — which had been 1 to 1 in the 1980s but had shot up in the 1990s — clearly revealed the reasons behind that problem. Indeed, the gap between the value of what was produced and the valuation of stocks was astonishing. It was also a cause for the volatility currently destroying jobs around the world as others pocketed significant profits. Political organizations, therefore, must regulate the movement of capital around the world and arrest instability; otherwise, efforts to promote economic growth in developing countries would amount to little. She cautioned that recent actions by the G-20 — to which Argentina had, as a member, agreed — had so far produced only cosmetic changes and it was time to focus on the nitty-gritty of regulation, including of the ratings agencies.

She said that while her country recognized the benefits of, and need for, increased multilateralism, it did not share the call for an increase in the number of permanent members in the Security Council. Her Government instead favoured the elimination of permanent membership, as well as the power of veto, which was only relevant in a bipolar world. Like the majority of South American countries, Argentina officially recognized the State of Palestine and believed its recognition as a United Nations Member State would prove beneficial to Israel. Furthermore, excluding Palestine would create greater global instability. Allowing Palestine to take its seat as Member State number 194 would result in a world that was not only more secure but also more just.Suggesting that the question of Malvinas was “a similar test of fire” for the United Nations, she called on the United Kingdom to comply with United Nations resolutions, citing, in particular, the missile tests it conducted in May and July. She also urged Member States to look in the mirror and ask whether the world’s natural resources were being used legitimately, particularly with respect to the areas surrounding Malvinas.Acknowledging the recent offer by Iran to hold a dialogue regarding the 1994 bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, she said that, while it signified a change, it did not constitute justice. However, Argentina could not, and would not, refuse the offer for dialogue. Indeed, it, too, called for dialogue on that issue, just as it did in the case of Malvinas.

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