Spain permanently withdraws its ambassador in Buenos Aires after Milei’s new insults | Spain

The Spanish Government has converted the call for consultations of its ambassador in Argentina into a definitive withdrawal. This means that the current ambassador, María Jesús Alonso Jiménez, will not return to her position at the head of the Spanish diplomatic legation in Buenos Aires even if the current crisis between the two countries is overcome, unless the Ministry of Foreign Affairs appoints her again. . That is, the Council of Ministers will have to appoint a new ambassador at the time and request the please to the Argentine authorities.

That has been the response of the Spanish Government after learning of the statements that the Argentine president, Javier Milei, made to the television channel Todo Noticias (TN) as soon as he returned to his country on Monday, in which he launched a new cascade of insults against Pedro Sánchez and his Government. “It’s so cowardly [Sánchez] that he needed to have me beaten for women. “It is something of fierce cowardice,” said Milei, alluding to the criticism she has received from several Spanish ministers. In addition, she accused the head of the Spanish Government of being “aligned with Kirchnerism”, the Peronist opposition in Argentina, and of having former president Alberto Fernández, who resides in Spain, as an advisor.

“Spain does not climb [la crisis diplomática]”respond,” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, this Tuesday, when announcing the definitive withdrawal of the ambassador after the Council of Ministers. Albares had summoned the Argentine ambassador in Madrid, Roberto Bosch, the day before, to convey the Spanish Government’s protest and demand a public apology from Milei. He already announced on Monday night that he would not apologize, and this Tuesday, after learning of the Spanish decision to withdraw the ambassador, the Argentine president responded with a new salvo: “It is nonsense typical of an arrogant socialist,” he said. said on the LN+ television channel.

“[Sánchez] He is so fatally arrogant that on a personal problem, in a phrase that had no names, he felt addressed. “Then the problem lies with Mr. Pedro Sánchez, and from there he makes an absolutely senseless diplomatic escalation,” the Argentine president continued. “Does he think he is the State? That is totalitarian, it is socialist,” he added.

The ambassador of Spain to Argentina, María Jesús Alonso Jiménez, speaks during an event at the embassy on May 16, 2024, in Buenos Aires (Argentina).JUAN IGNACIO RONCORONI (EFE)

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Milei’s words last Sunday at a rally organized by Vox in Madrid, which gave rise to the clash between the two governments, were these: “They don’t know what kind of society and country socialism can produce and what kind of people are screwed into it. power and what levels of abuse it can generate. Even if he has a corrupt wife, let’s say, she gets dirty and takes five days to think about it.” He thus alluded, although without naming names, to the period of reflection that Pedro Sánchez took at the end of April to decide whether he would continue in office after a judge opened proceedings for the complaint against his wife, Begoña Gómez. Milei maintains, however, that he is “the one attacked” because the Spanish Government has been insulting him for months, and emphasizes that Minister Óscar Puente even suggested that he took drugs.

The measure announced this Tuesday by Albares is the third that Spanish diplomacy adopts regarding the Argentine Government in just 48 hours: first was the call for consultations from the Spanish ambassador in Buenos Aires; then, the summons of the Argentine ambassador in Madrid; and finally, the definitive withdrawal of the head of the Spanish diplomatic legation. What is completely ruled out, according to government sources, is the breaking of relations with Argentina. The Spanish Embassy will continue to operate under the direction of its number twothe chargé d’affaires, since the links between the two countries are very solid: Spain is the second foreign investor in Argentina (with a stocks accumulated of 18,000 million euros) and the Spanish colony in said country is the largest in the world (482,176 citizens).

The definitive withdrawal of an ambassador has few precedents. Spain withdrew its ambassador in Caracas in 2016 after the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, attacked the then head of the Spanish Government, Mariano Rajoy, whom he called “racist, corrupt trash and colonialist trash.” In 2020, along with other European countries, Spain demoted its representative in Venezuela to the category of chargé d’affaires, a situation that it maintained until December 2022.

After the decision of the Council of Ministers, Albares has insisted that Spain wants to maintain the best relations with Argentina, but has stressed the seriousness of Milei’s behavior: a foreign head of state who goes to the capital of another country to “insult their institutions” and carry out “flagrant interference in their internal affairs”, violating “basic principles of international relations”. This is, he has emphasized, “a unique case for which there are no precedents.”

The minister recalled that, although Milei did not ask to meet with the President of the Government or the King during his stay in Madrid, something unusual for a Latin American head of State who has just assumed power, the Government provided support to his visit, authorizing the Argentine Presidency plane to land at the Torrejón de Ardoz air base (Madrid) and offering security. A courtesy to which Milei, in the words of Albares, responded with a “frontal attack” on his hosts, an “assault on good faith and hospitality.” In his opinion, furthermore, the fact that the Argentine president pronounced his words in the Spanish capital gives them “an extra gravity.”

Asked what attitude the Spanish Government will take if, as Milei himself has announced, he returns to Spain on June 21 to collect the prize awarded to him by the Juan de Mariana association, the head of Spanish diplomacy limited himself to answering : “We will analyze in detail what type of visit you want to make.” In reality, the Government cannot prevent him from coming to Spain, since Argentine citizens do not need a visa and, furthermore, as acting head of state, Milei enjoys immunity, but he could turn into obstacles the facilities that have been given to him in his first visit.

Javier Milei speaks during the event organized by Vox at the Vistalegre Palace in Madrid.Europa Press/Contact/Alberto Ga (Europa Press/Contact/Alberto Ga)

Albares has not ruled out taking new steps in the diplomatic escalation depending on how the crisis develops, but he did not want to reveal them, limiting himself to pointing out that “there is a whole range of measures that the Government can adopt.” After obtaining the support of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs of the EU, the Spanish Josep Borrell, the Government has ruled out seeking the solidarity of the Twenty-seven; among other reasons, because Milei has allies in the community club such as the prime ministers of Italy and Hungary, Giorgia Meloni and Viktor Orbán, who participated, electronically, in the international convention of the extreme right held last Sunday in Madrid.

What the Spanish Government could do is suspend the Treaty of Cooperation and Friendship between Spain and Argentina that the then presidents, Felipe González and Raúl Alfonsín, signed in 1988, an agreement that provided, in its article 1, for the celebration of “high-level political consultations between the two governments” on an annual basis. Those consultations, in fact, no longer exist. Although it is unpredictable how long the crisis may last, the head of the Spanish Government and the Argentine president will meet in November at two international summits: the G-20 in Rio de Janeiro and the Ibero-American Summit in Cuenca (Ecuador); The King will also attend the latter.

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