News24

Argentine delegation in Ghana for talks

2012-10-17 12:17

Accra - A delegation from Argentina on Tuesday met with Ghanaian officials in an attempt to negotiate the release of a warship being detained outside Accra over a bond dispute, an official said.

The vessel that had travelled to the West African nation for a training mission was seized by port officials this month under a court order secured by a Cayman Islands investment group which claims it is owed more than $370m by Buenos Aires.

"The meeting between the Argentine delegation and the Ghanaian foreign ministry is under way," said the foreign ministry source, who was not authorised to talk to reporters and requested anonymity.

Argentina has said it dispatched the deputy foreign and defence ministers to Accra, but it was not immediately clear who was present for Tuesday's meeting.

The commander of the Argentine navy resigned on Monday and the government also punished two naval officers over the decision to have the ARA Libertad stop with some 200 sailors on board.

Last year the ship only made stops in the Latin American region, a move press reports said was aimed at a dodging any lawsuits over unpaid debt.

Argentina has called the seizure of the Libertad a violation of the Vienna Convention, claiming the military vessel is protected by diplomatic immunity.

Bondholders NML Capital - a so-called "vulture fund" - bought Argentine bonds at a discount when the country's economy was in freefall in 2000. Buenos Aires later defaulted.

The country has rescheduled and refinanced much of its debt, but bonds held by speculative funds are among Argentina's unsettled business.