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Latin American Summit Asks for US Assistance - 2001-08-19


Latin American leaders meeting in Chile have called on President Bush to ensure that Argentina receives rapid support from the international financial community to resolve its economic crisis. The appeal came Saturday at the end of a two-day conference of Latin American leaders in the Chilean capital.

Chilean President Ricardo Lagos personally made the appeal to President Bush on behalf of his Latin American counterparts in a telephone conversation Saturday.

At a news conference, Mr. Lagos said he had called Mr. Bush and expressed concern that Argentina receive rapid help from the international financial community. He said Mr. Bush offered assurances his administration will work to check the crisis that is affecting Argentina and that it wants to find an adequate and lasting solution to what is going on in the financial markets, especially in Argentina.

The Latin American leaders gathered in Santiago Saturday approved a formal statement, urging international financial agencies to help Argentina. The statement warned of possible negative consequences for the region, if Argentina's problems are not resolved.

Argentina is in the midst of a deep recession, and is having trouble meeting its debt obligations. Its economic problems have affected the economies of neighboring countries like Brazil and Chile.

An Argentine mission is now in Washington meeting with the International Monetary Fund to negotiate an emergency loan reported to be as high as $9 billion.

Concern over Argentina dominated the two-day meeting in Santiago of the Group of Rio, which brought together the leaders of 19 Latin American and Caribbean countries.

The Group of Rio was created in 1986 to promote dialogue and cooperation among the nations of the continent. The agenda at this year's summit included unemployment, human rights, education, and globalization.

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