21 May, 2024 @ 14:08
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Spain-Argentina row continues: Javier Milei brands Pedro Sanchez a ‘coward’ and refuses to apologise after calling the PM’s wife ‘corrupt’

THE ongoing diplomatic spat between Spain and Argentina deepened on Tuesday, after the Spanish government recalled its ambassador in Buenos Aires to Madrid definitively.

The drastic move came after the Argentine president, Javier Milei, refused to apologise for calling the wife of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez ‘corrupt’ while on a visit to Madrid at the weekend. 

Far from saying he was sorry for his words, which were uttered during a meeting of far-right parties hosted by Spain’s Vox, he claimed that he felt ‘attacked’ by the Socialist Party leader, whom, he added, was ‘working in line with kirchnerismo’, a reference to the left-wing policies of his predecessors in the Argentine government. 

“I am not going to apologise to him under any circumstances…. If I was the one who was attacked,” Milei told the channel Todo Noticias during his first interview after the row broke out.

Read more: Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez calls for public apology from Milei

Javier Milei pictured with Vox leader Santiago Abascal.

“[Sánchez] is such a coward that he needed to send women to beat me up,” Milei continued, in reference to comments about the incident made by female ministers such as Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Diaz and Universities Minister Diana Morant. 

The Argentine president claimed that such comments made by female members of the Spanish government was a strategy by his predecessor Alberto Fernandez aimed at provoking him into reacting so that his critics could call him ‘misogynist’. 

On Tuesday, government spokesperson Pilar Alegria responded to Milei’s comments, saying that ‘politics is not a question of skirts or trousers, but rather of respect. For women to have a voice or autonomy is not cowardice, it’s equality’. 

It was Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares, meanwhile, who announced that Spain’s ambassador to Argentina was being recalled, thus raising the tensions between the two countries another notch.

“The ambassador will stay in Madrid definitively, Argentina is left without an ambassador,” Albares said on Tuesday.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

The move came after Spain called its ambassador in Buenos Aires for consultation on Sunday. But now, however, the ambassador will not be going back to the South American country and will be replaced once the diplomatic rift is over. 

Milei was in Madrid to appear as the star guest at a conference of far-right leaders, along with Marine Le Pen from France. 

During his speech he described Sanchez’s partner, Begoña Gomez, as a ‘corrupt wife’ after a series of allegations were made against her in some sectors of the press of influence peddling. 

A preliminary judicial investigation into Gomez’s activities has been opened, but so far there is no proof of any wrongdoing. The story received widespread coverage in right-leaning news sources in Spain before it was taken up by the courts. 

Yesterday, Sanchez himself called for an apology from Milei, adding: “I am fully aware that those who spoke yesterday did not do so in the name of the great Argentine people.”

Tensions between Spain and Argentina have been running high after Spanish Transport Minister Oscar Puente recently made comments suggesting that Milei had ingested ‘substances’ during last year’s presidential elections. 

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