German Chancellor arrives in Argentina

Schroeder will discuss a help package to Argentina and the Siemens Scandal German Prime Minister Gerhard Schroeder landed in Buenos Aires today to evaluate a possible European financial aid to Argentina in what he stated as the "worst crisis in the history" of the South American country. Schroeder will meet Argentine President Eduardo Duhalde, together with his Minister of Economy, Werner Muller and 30 German company managers. Among them, arrived the CEO of Siemens International, Heinrich von Pierer. The German multinational company has a sensitive conflict with Argentina after local Government decided to cancel a given contract to Siemens to issue National Identification Documents (ID) in May 2001. The contract had been agreed for 1 billion US dollars and was subject of investigation by the local courts on a suspected case of bribery. Germany put very much pressure on the current Argentine Government to reach an agreement to pay a compensation over Siemens financial losses. The company asks for 600 millions US dollars, but Argentina is prepared to pay only up to 200 millions. Apparently, the discussion on the corruption implications of the case has been pulled of for the time being. Schroeder arrived in Argentina after a round trip in South America. During his staying in the region he stopped in Mexico, where played football with President Fox, and in Brazil, where he met Fernando Henrique Cardoso to discuss economic cooperation with Mercosur.

Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA. Ru Argentina

Photo: Schroeder shoots penalty in Mexico DC

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