View Full Version : Argentina Holds Confiscated U.S. Air Force Cargo

02-16-2011, 08:25 AM
Argentina's relations with the U.S. took a sharp turn for the worse Monday as the country continued to hold military equipment it confiscated last week from a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane sent as part of a training course for local police....U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela, called on Argentina to return the property without delay.

"It's absolutely necessary that they immediately return that material. It makes no sense for it to have been confiscated this way. This material was intended for a joint exercise in training people to rescue hostages," Mr. Valenzuela said Monday on CNN en Espanol.....Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman quickly rebutted Mr. Valenzuela and called on the U.S. to apologize for violating Argentine law.

Mr. Timerman accused the U.S. of using the plane to smuggle undeclared firearms, surveillance equipment and "various doses of morphine" into the country for ulterior motives....He also said that U.S. officials have refused to offer any explanation about the seized material, something State Department officials adamantly deny....."They refuse to collaborate with us," he said, adding that Argentina has lodged a formal complaint with the U.S. government and will return the cargo only after investigators say they no longer need it.
....Mr. Timerman personally supervised the seizure of the cargo at Argentina's Ezeiza International Airport as perplexed U.S. officials looked on.

A State Department official familiar with the seizure told Dow Jones Newswires most of the material, which was intended for use in a hostage-rescue course, had been properly declared and previously approved by Argentine authorities.....The only thing that hadn't been declared was the medication confiscated at the airport, said the official, who asked to remain anonymous because of the delicate nature of the issue.

The medication, including morphine, is part of a first aid kit belonging to an Army medic who participates in the training courses, the official said. The course uses real weapons and live-fire exercises, making it imperative to have medication available in an emergency, the official said.

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