Argentina says it reaches deal to avoid debt default

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina said Monday that private creditors have “massively” accepted an offer to restructure $65 billion in debt, allowing it to avoid another default and messy legal battle in international courts.

Economy Minister Martín Guzmán said 93.55% of the bondholders accepted the offer and the country will save $37.7 billion over the next decade.

“The offer had a massive acceptance by our creditors as a result of the dialogue process that was established in recent months,” Guzmán said during a ceremony at the Government House.

By dispelling fears of its third default this century, Argentina can now look to revive its recession-bound economy.

President Alberto Fernández lauded the deal, saying “we have the peace of mind that we have not betrayed the trust of the Argentines because we did things as we said we were going to do them. This time the debt will not be paid by those who have the least.”

The president also thanked world leaders who supported Argentina in the negotiations, in particular Mexican Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Pope Francis.

The deal followed months of talks and shifting deadlines, and coincided with another extended period of economic misery in Argentina, where unemployment and inflation are stubbornly high, and the peso has been declining for years. The pandemic made things worse, as Argentina imposed a lockdown that helped to curb the spread of the new coronavirus but paralyzed vast sectors of the economy.

Argentina will now focus on talks with the International Monetary Fund to modify conditions of a huge loan granted under its previous government.

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