January 18, 2002

Bush assures Argentina of U.S. support

                 WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- President George W. Bush on Friday spoke by
                 telephone to Argentine President Eduardo Duhalde and assured him that the
                 United States will help Argentina when his government commits to a sound,
                 sustainable economic recovery plan.

                 "President Bush reaffirmed America's strong bilateral relations with Argentina. He
                 stressed our commitment to the Argentinian people, and our heartfelt appreciation
                 of the difficulties that the people of Argentina are facing," said White House
                 spokesman Ari Fleischer.

                 Argentina is in default on part of its $141 billion mountain of debt and desperate for
                 cash from the International Monetary Fund.

                 "The president expressed his willingness to work with the Argentinian government
                 as it confronts these serious economic challenges," Fleischer said.

                 "President Bush also underscored tha t once Argentina has committed to a sound
                 and sustainable economic plan, working with the international financial institutions,
                 the United States is willing to support Argentina through the IMF and other
                 international institutions," he said.

                  Copyright 2002 Reuters.