By Dialogo September 14, 2009 Argentine Defense Minister Nilda Garré ended her visit to the United States at the Pentagon’s Defense Acquisition University, where she presented her country’s defense system as centered on cooperation in international peace missions. “Argentina maintains a defensive strategic posture, excluding power politics with regard to third states,” Garré emphasized in her speech at the military university, located outside Washington. The minister added that the Argentine model exists “within the framework of a democratic state under the rule of law” and pointed to the regulations contained in the National Defense Act as the principal pillar of defense policy. In addition, she emphasized the country’s interest in participating in peace missions, like those carried out by the UN’s Blue Helmets in countries like Haiti and Cyprus, and the creation of specialized organizations like the Latin American Association of Peace Operations Training Centers (ALCOPAZ). Following her speech, the Defense Minister once again expressed her satisfaction with the agreement she reached yesterday with her U.S. counterpart, Robert Gates, to revise and update the cooperation agreements signed by the two countries in the 1950s and 1960s. The points to be revised will be determined at the next meeting of the U.S.-Argentine bilateral working group, which will be held in Buenos Aires in October, according to a statement issued by the Argentine ministry. According to the Argentine minister, much of the content of the agreements and of subsequent specific conventions “involves topics and activities typical for conceptions associated with the Cold War,” for which reason they have become obsolete. In addition, the agreements touch on matters related “to the country’s internal security, to exchanging intelligence on subjects that the Armed Forces are prohibited from being involved with today, such as drug trafficking, terrorism, and other threats to security,” therefore “requiring” review and modification, Garré added. The minister, who arrived in the United States on Sunday, has also met with the head of the Southern Command, Gen. Douglas Fraser, and the senior director for Latin America of the White House National Security Council, Dan Restrepo. Following the cancellation of planned meetings with peace-keeping officials at the United Nations, the minister will not go on to travel to New York, but will return to Argentina before participating in the Unasur summit to be held in Quito on the 14th and 15th.
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