Washington, DC - Secretary Michael R. Pompeo co-chaired the second Western Hemisphere Counterterrorism Ministerial from July 18-19 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The multilateral forum included 18 governments from the region and the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Committee against Terrorism, all committed to bolstering counterterrorism cooperation to deny terrorists and terrorist financiers safe haven in the region. While in Buenos Aires, the Secretary commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Iran-backed Hizballah attack on the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people and injured hundreds more.
- Argentina designated Hizballah a terrorist organization, the first country in Latin America to do so and a diplomatic effort years in the making.
- The United States, Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay reinvigorated a multilateral security cooperation mechanism dormant since 2008, and refocused efforts on triborder issues and broader security cooperation.
- Reiterated support for the Macri economic agenda and the tough choices needed to make to put the country on a sustainable path. This continues U.S. support for Argentina including supporting the largest IMF plan in history, bringing OPIC back to Argentina for the first time in 15 years, and administration support for Argentina to join the OECD.
Secretary Pompeo continued diplomatic engagements within the region, finalizing and continuing critical diplomatic engagements.
- Finalized a five-year lease agreement with El Salvador to continue counternarcotics cooperation and interdiction at the Cooperative Security Location (CSL) Comalapa.
- Made the first visit by a Secretary of State to El Salvador in 10 years and the first to Ecuador in nine. (Secretary Pompeo made the first visit by a Secretary of State to Paraguay in more than 50 years earlier this year in April.)
- Continued dialogue with Mexico on immigration, trade, economics, and the bilateral agenda, building on our cooperation commitments announced last December and in June. Border apprehensions at the U.S southwest border are down more than 30 percent since June.
- Discussed importance of getting USMCA ratified and continuing to grow our economies. This builds on OPIC Mexico visit of early July where OPIC announced progress on over $500 million in projects in Mexico.
- Continued the transformation of the bilateral relationship with Ecuador, where in the past year we have re-sorted security cooperation, brought USAID back, signed an OPIC mortgage guarantee of $150 million, and supported the Moreno economic agenda with IMF and multilateral backing.