By H.E. Mr. Mario Oyarzábal, Ambassador of the Argentine Republic to the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in The Hague
Last July 8th, I presented credentials to H.M. The King, formally commencing my functions in The Hague, after having been for four years The Legal Adviser of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I came with the expectation to help foster bilateral relations between Argentina and the Netherlands up to the level that will be commensurate with our common values and interests.
Argentina and the Netherlands share common values that are reflected in several joint initiatives at multilateral level, in particular for the protection and promotion of Human Rights of LGBTI persons and for international cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes through a treaty expected to be adopted in 2021.
The Netherlands is also one of Argentina’s main commercial partners, being the 7th destination of Argentina’s exports (mainly biodiesel and its blends, beef, peanuts, soybean pellets and wines, in addition to vegetables and fruits) and the 3rdlargest foreign direct investor in Argentina (mainly in the manufacturing industry, mining, financial services and information and communication sectors).
In 2018, a consortium formed of INVAP, an Argentine company, with Dutch partners, was awarded the design and construction of the state-of-the-art PALLAS-reactor, one of the world’s leading suppliers of medical isotopes used for diagnostic procedures (e.g. cancer, cardiovascular diseases) and for treatment. This is very auspicious for the Argentine High-Tech industry having set foot in the European market for the first time.
Earlier this year, Argentine President Alberto Fernández announced the creation of the “Economic and Social Council for Argentina’s Development” to be modelled after the Dutch SER, which brings together various different parties (including employers, employees and independent experts) to reach agreements on societal issues.
2025 will mark 200 years of bilateral relations providing an opportunity to re-launch the Argentine-Dutch partnership. The ties of the Dutch Royal Family with Argentina, together with the enormous popularity of Queen Máxima creates great synergy at all levels.
The Netherlands is also the seat of important organizations and tribunals such as the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA/CPA) and the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH). As much as The Hague is the International Law capital of the world, Buenos Aires is becoming a regional capital with the establishment in the past years of regional offices by the PCA and the HCCH. In a period where multilateralism and international justice are under so much stress, Argentina reiterates its faith in and support to a world based in International Law and international institutions.
The presentation of my letters of credence to H.M. King Willem-Alexander has been one of the highlights of my short tenure in the Netherlands. So far, much of the efforts of the Argentine Embassy have been directed to assist Argentine citizens and residents stranded in the Netherlands, Europe and the rest of the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, given the importance of Amsterdam Airport-Schiphol as a hub airport.
However, as some activities have been able to resume, we are now focusing also on the other important issues of the bilateral and multilateral agenda, including the promotion of Argentine trade and culture, without putting aside Argentina’s flagship wine Malbec and tango music and dance. Furthermore, for those who have not tried it yet, Torrontés, Argentina’s signature white wine mainly produced in the Northern provinces is definitely worth a try! Not to mention Argentina’s rock-n-roll (“rock nacional”) which has become synonymous with the freedom and celebration of democracy and has emerged as an Argentine sound widely played and listened to across the American continent.
Needless to say that as an international lawyer, living in The Hague and representing Argentina before the international law institutions and courts is a dream come true. As a public servant and legal adviser for many years, I have travelled to The Hague for court hearings and other meetings dealing with issues from Capital. Working here in direct contact with these important institutions and other delegations adds a different and certainly very exciting perspective.