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Argentine President Backs Effort to Repeal Amnesty Laws - 2003-07-24

The president of Argentina says his country must repeal the amnesty laws that allowed the killers and torturers of Argentina's military dictatorship to go unpunished.

President Nestor Kirchner told the Washington Post newspaper that Argentina will have independent courts, and that there can be no impunity in Argentina.

In the interview published Thursday, Mr. Kirchner said 30,000 people disappeared in Argentina during the 1970s and 1980s only because they thought differently.

Mr. Kirchner was interviewed Wednesday, following talks with President Bush at the White House.

After he met with Mr. Bush, the Argentine center-left leader told reporters he was satisfied with the talks and received unconditional U.S. support for his economic program.

Argentina wants to negotiate a three-year aid package from the International Monetary Fund before a nearly $3 billion loan is due later this year.

The South American nation is struggling to emerge from a severe economic crisis, which led to a massive debt default and a devaluation of its national currency, the peso.

The White House has said Mr. Bush supports Mr. Kirchner's efforts to return Argentina to a path of sustainable growth.

Thursday, Mr. Kirchner meets in New York with investors.