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US Monitoring Argentina Economy


President Bush says his administration is keeping a close watch on the economic crisis in Argentina. Mr. Bush says that as far as the U.S. response is concerned, all options are open.

The president says he hopes Argentina will implement economic reforms and gain the confidence of the international community.

During a session with reporters in Texas, Mr. Bush said his administration is watching the Argentine situation on a daily basis. When asked if he favors additional loans for Argentina, the president did not answer directly. He said only that the United States is exploring all options.

President Bush also said he recently discussed the situation in Argentina with King Juan Carlos of Spain. He described the Spanish monarch as "very concerned," adding Spain has a great deal at stake in Argentina.

Mr. Bush said he told King Juan Carlos that America is watching events closely, and believes the reform measures recently approved by the Argentine legislature can help win over investors.

The president said White House economic advisor Larry Lindsey and U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill are meeting every single day to discuss Argentina. Mr. Bush also noted that he recently sent Treasury Undersecretary John Taylor to Buenos Aires for high level talks. He said during the trip, Mr. Taylor stressed the Bush administration wants to see the reforms implemented.

President Bush spoke as an Argentine delegation held a fourth day of talks in Washington with officials of the International Monetary Fund. The IMF indicated earlier this month that it might speed up disbursement of more than $1 billion from an already approved loan to Argentina, and could grant an emergency line of credit. But some economists say Argentina may need billions more in fresh loans to bring the fiscal crisis to an end.