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Argentine President Accepts Resignation of Economy Minister - 2001-12-20

Argentine President Fernando de la Rua has accepted the resignation of his controversial Economy Minister, Domingo Cavallo in the wake of protests and looting that have shaken the government.

President de la Rua's decision to accept Mr. Cavallo's resignation came as no surprise. The ex-Economy Minister, who assumed his post in March, was widely blamed for failing to resolve Argentina's economic crisis. Mr. Cavallo had submitted his resignation along with the rest of the Cabinet early Thursday in the wake of widespread looting and rioting in the country on Wednesday.

Mr. de la Rua declared a state of siege, and appealed for calm in a nationwide broadcast late Wednesday. But protests against his government and calls for his resignation continue.

The Argentine President has been holding talks with major political leaders in an attempt to defuse the crisis, and form a new government.

Argentina is in the midst of a recession that has lasted almost four years, which has impoverished almost one-third of the country's 36 million people.