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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 March, 2004, 15:40 GMT
Press warns over IMF deal
Demonstrators protest outside a Citibank branch in Buenos Aires
Protesters besieged banks during the recent crisis

Newspapers in Argentina heave a sigh of relief over the decision to repay the loan to the IMF, with the government receiving praise for its handling of the situation.

However doubts emerge over how far Argentina and other Latin Americans can be pushed in their efforts to appease foreign creditors.

According to the leading business daily Ambito Financiero, "Kirchner's logic was to give in and pay up".

How far can Argentina be pushed?
Commentary in Clarin

"So the president is now able to maintain the level of foreign investment, as well as the country's international standing."

'No euphoria'

Ambito says the markets reacted positively to the move, "but there was no euphoria".

The top circulation Clarin publishes a commentary by Mexican Ambassador Rosario Green asking "How far can Argentina be pushed?"

Arguing that Latin American nations have been "plagued" by foreign intervention in the past, Ms Green questions "up to what point can one put pressure on a nation that is starting out on the road to economic recovery after a prolonged crisis?"

"What would be the consequences of pushing it to the limit? How much can be gained by going down this route and how much more may be lost?

"A cost-benefit analysis would recommend prudence on both sides," she suggests.

Clarin believes that the agreement "came as a great relief, not just in Buenos Aires, but also in Washington".

"Once again, Washington's involvement was crucial in closing the deal."

The latest round of the scrap with the IMF ended in a draw
Commentator in La Nacion

A headline in La Nacion reveals there was "No more room for manoeuvre in last-minute deal".

La Nacion commentator Joaquin Morales Sola believes the default was avoided "with great difficulty".

Keeping the peace

Like Ms Green, he cautions that "there is no longer much leeway in the world for continuing to reach agreements by the skin of one's teeth".

"Argentine society itself has begun to show signs, in an embryonic and imperfect fashion, that it would rather keep the peace than return to the scandal of conflict," Mr Morales Sola concludes.

Another La Nacion commentator, Nestor O. Scibona, argues that "normal service has been resumed".

"In the end, there was no knockout. The latest round of the scrap with the IMF ended in a draw on points."

"The question that arises now is whether the Argentine government strengthened or weakened its negotiating power with the foreign creditors," says Mr Scibona.

The Fund exists precisely to pour cold water on things
Pagina 12

"The government basically got what it was after: showing domestic public opinion that it will not cave in to outside pressure," he believes.

Unjust system

"A bad smell in the boardroom", shouts a headline in Pagina 12, over a commentary arguing that the IMF is subject to major financial strains at the hands of countries like Argentina.

"In other words, the fate of the Fund is tied to countries such as Brazil and Argentina, who have economies with middling revenues, neither high nor low."

"But what can Brazil and Argentina do to truly put the external [debt] situation back on a firm footing and attend to their internal social dramas if the world continues to work against them, due to the protectionism of the central powers and other such inequities?"

"The Fund exists precisely to pour cold water on things, thus perpetuating the unjust rules of the game."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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