Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said the government will not pay “even half a cent” of its debt back to the International Monetary Fund before the country has exited recession.
“The first thing we have to do in order to be able to pay is to exit the recession,” Fernandez de Kirchner said at a presentation of her book “Sinceramente” (Sincerely) at Havana’s international book fair.
“If there is a recession no-one will pay even half a cent and the way you exit recession is through a lot of state investment.”
Argentina needs to restructure $100bn in sovereign debt with creditors, including part of a $57bn credit facility that the IMF extended the country in 2018.
Dealings with the IMF are key as Argentina hopes to avoid a default amid a currency crash, steep inflation and a contracting economy. An IMF technical mission is expected in Buenos Aires next week to discuss obligations owed to the fund.
Fernandez de Kirchner said Argentina should get a “substantial haircut” on its IMF debt.
A leftist and militant Peronist, she has travelled frequently to Cuba over the past year to visit her daughter Florencia Kirchner who is undergoing medical treatment there.
Her book presentation was attended by Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and a raft of other officials.
The Argentine ex-president launched Sincerely, a compilation of personal anecdotes and reflections, in Argentina last year.
International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva and Argentine Economy Minister Martin Guzman had last week held talks on the debt talks that both said were constructive.
The talks, which lasted two-and-a-half hours, took place on Tuesday, the two said. Guzman said his talks with Georgieva were “very good and constructive”.
Argentine President Alberto Fernandez had recently met Pope Francis and said the pontiff, who is also Argentine and lived through a previous debt crisis when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, had promised him to do everything he could to help with the current one.
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