Thank you Mr. President.
On behalf of President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and the people of the United States of America, I offer my sincere condolences to the Argentine people and to President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner upon the death of Nestor Kirchner, former President of Argentina and Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).
We also wish to express our appreciation to the delegation of Ecuador, in its capacity as president pro-tempore of UNASUR, for convening this tribute event and allowing us to express our sympathy.
As President of Argentina, Nestor Kirchner was an advocate for the citizens of Argentina. He believed deeply in justice and ended impunity for crimes committed during a particularly tragic period in Argentina’s history. He was an influential political leader, and he played a prominent role in Argentina’s recovery from the 2001-02 economic crisis.
Under Dr. Kirchner’s leadership, Argentina took a strong stance against international terrorism, was an active partner in combating narcotics trafficking, and made significant contributions to the United Nation’s peacekeeping efforts, particularly in Haiti. I remember in this very chamber in 2006, he proclaimed that Argentine foreign policy would be guided by Argentina’s strong belief in representative democracy and human rights.
As Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), he was a leading voice for South American regional integration and multilateralism. The United States particularly appreciated Dr. Kirchner’s efforts to coordinate UNASUR’s quick response to recent civil unrest in Ecuador.
There is deep friendship between our countries, and as friends, the United States mourns with all Argentines. They have lost a leader and the Kirchner family has lost a beloved husband and father.
Today our thoughts and prayers are with the President and her children. The United States joins the international community and the people of Argentina in mourning Dr. Kirchner’s untimely passing.
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