Argentine-Soviet discussions focus on finances and disarmament. Though differences on trade remain, Soviet's visit seen to consolidate ties
Buenos Aires — A ``frank, positive, and cordial'' exchange of views on foreign policy and trade issues appears to be the major outcome of the five-day visit to Argentina by Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze. Mr. Shevardnadze, who heads for Uruguay today, has completed perhaps the most important leg of his three-country tour of South America, which started in Brazil last week.
His Argentine counterpart, Dante Caputo, said Argentine-Soviet relations ``have received a major impulse in the past two years'' and added that this series of talks with the Soviet minister was of ``great use and importance.''
In a press conference Friday, Shevardnadze said his talks with Mr. Caputo, and a meeting with President Ra'ul Alfosn'in, focused on the themes of nuclear and chemical disarmament, the ``threat of technological imperialism,'' the world financial crisis, and regional issues - namely Central America and Latin American support for the current regional peace plan, the Iran-Iraq war, the Middle East, and Afghanistan.
Shevardnadze praised Argentina's ``prestigious and outstanding'' role in the so-called nonaligned movement and its support of world nuclear disarmament efforts. He said much time also was spent discussing the foreign debt problem, whose solution, he said, is ``intimately linked'' to the need for disarmament.
Both countries share much common ground in their foreign policies relating to third-world issues and conflicts. Shevardnadze's visit has helped to consolidate the relationship which has been developing since the signing of a bilateral fishing agreement in 1986 and visits by both President Alfons'in and Mr. Caputo to Moscow last year.
An area of bilateral relations still to be resolved, however, is that of trade, which last year was at its lowest level in more than a decade.
Soviet frustration with the lack of Argentine interest in purchasing its goods, and the lifting of the US grain sales embargo on the Soviet Union last year are the direct causes of the decline.
``There is an imbalance in the flow of funds,'' Shevardnadze said. ``Trade has its own laws. We have been complying with our agreements, but we must also have reciprocal actions.''
Between 1973 and 1986. Argentina exported $14.6 billion worth of goods to the Soviets, but imported only $482 million. In an effort to reverse the trend, it was agreed during this visit to draw up a long-term economic cooperation program, a task which will be carried out by a joint Soviet-Argentine commission next year.
Shevardnadze emphasized, however, that the proposal covers not only trade, but also joint ventures, direct links between companies, technical and scientific co-operation, and ``joint actions in relations with third countries,'' without specifying what the latter might be. ``We could have a very interesting program with Argentina,'' he said. ``There are very good perspectives.'' He added that a further framework agreement is being drawn up for possible cooperation in ``the peaceful development of space technology.''