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Argentine threatens UN action against Ghana over ship seizure

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, October 19, 2012 22:00 EDT
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The Argentinian frigate Libertad, seized in a port in Ghana in connection with a debt dispute. Photo via AFP.
 
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Argentina threatened to take Ghana before the United Nations if it refuses to take responsibility for the seizure earlier this month of a warship belonging to Buenos Aires.

“Argentina is keeping all its options open in terms of international justice and, if necessary, will turn to the United Nations,” Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said in a statement, released on Friday.

The Libertad, which went to Ghana for a training mission, was seized by port officials in the West African nation on October 2 under a court order secured by a Cayman Islands investment group that claims Buenos Aires owes it more than $370 million (283 million euros).

In an effort to resolve the crisis, Argentina sent its deputy ministers of defense and foreign affairs, Alfredo Forti and Eduardo Zuain, to Ghana.

The delegation “reaffirmed to the Ghanaian government that (Buenos Aires) would continue to require it to take responsibility with respect to the seizure of the Libertad,” Timerman said.

He called the seizure illegal, saying the vessel was protected by immunity that Ghana, being a signatory to international conventions, recognizes.

Timerman also underscored that “negotiating with vulture funds was not an option.”

NML Capital Limited — whose court claims led to the seizure of the ship — bought Argentine bonds at a discount when the country’s economy was in freefall in 2000. Buenos Aires later defaulted.

The country has rescheduled and refinanced much of its debt, but bonds held by speculative funds are among Argentina’s unsettled business.

The head of Argentina’s military intelligence, Lourdes Puente Olivera, resigned Thursday over the incident.

Her departure followed that of the commander of the Argentine navy, Carlos Alberto Paz, on Monday. The government has also punished two high-ranking naval officers over the decision to have the ARA Libertad and its 200-strong crew stop over at the port of Tema.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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