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Kerry Welcomes Argentina Counterpart to US, Hails 'Restoration'

Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra before their meeting at the State Department in Washington, March 30, 2016.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday welcomed Argentina's "restoration" since the election of Mauricio Macri as the country's new president and said he looked forward to collaboration on the economy, energy, climate change, trade and regional issues.

Kerry was speaking at the start of talks with his new Argentinian counterpart, Susana Malcorra, at the State Department.

"We very much welcome Argentina's restoration of its own engagement in politics in so many different issues on energy, on human rights, on environment, on trade," Kerry said at the start of talks with Malcorra, a former senior U.N. official.

Kerry said the two countries would sign a "historic" agreement on April 22 announced by President Barack Obama during a visit to Argentina earlier this month in which the United States will declassify secret military and intelligence documents related to the 1976 coup that installed right-wing military rule.

Obama's visit to Argentina, in which he praised Macri's reforms, marked a detente after years of tensions with former President Cristina Fernandez.

Earlier in March, Argentina agreed to pay $4.65 billion in cash to its main holdout creditors to end years of bitter legal battles that followed a $100 billion default in 2002.

Malcorra said the "human rights aspect" of the documents was of interest to the Macri government.

"President Macri has defined very clearly that Argentina has to insert itself into the international arena to play the role it has historically played," she said. "We feel that the United States is a key partner in that and we plan to have a serious, predictable and intelligent relationship with you."