BUENOS AIRES - U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday pledged closer defense cooperation with Argentina.
Standing beside his Argentinian counterpart, Oscar Aguad, Mattis said the military partnership can be strengthened. He alluded to the help the U.S. Navy provided Argentina last November when one of its submarines went missing with 44 sailors aboard.
Mattis’s visit is the first to Argentina by an American secretary of defense since Donald H. Rumsfeld in 2005.
Mattis and Aguad announced no specific agreements, but both said they hope for better relations between their two countries.
Aguad alluded to the chilly relations of recent years, which he said were now changing for the better. He told Mattis, “We have come back to the road we should never have left.”
Aguad also thanked Mattis for the help provided when the Argentine sub, ARA San Juan, disappeared in the South Atlantic last year. The U.S. Navy helped search for signs of the vessel, which remains missing.
“We thank you once more for a gesture that will never be forgotten,” Aguad said.
Mattis also is visiting Chile and Colombia this week.