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In a solemn, historic setting, the Presidents of the Argentine Republic, Carlos Saúl Menem, and the Republic of Chile, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, met in Punta Arenas and Ushuaia on February 15 and 16, 1999 to commemorate the important meeting held in 1899 by their predecessors, Presidents Julio A. Roca and Federico Errázuriz Echaurren. The visionary spirit of those men triggered a phase of renewed friendship between Argentina and Chile which, among other notable events, paved the way for the signature of the May agreements of 1902 -- the first agreements to limit weapons acquisitions.

With this frame of reference, both leaders reemphasized their commitment to preserving, strengthening, and developing the ties of constant peace and lasting friendship between Argentina and Chile that are the foundation of the 1984 Treaty of Peace and Friendship and augur well for all spheres of the bilateral relationship at the dawn of the twenty-first century. In testimony of this, the Presidents paid tribute to Cardinal Antonio Samoré, who was an important figure in achieving those objectives, by inaugurating a monument in his memory.

The presidents also reaffirmed Argentina and Chile's commitment to protecting their common interests in the Antarctic, sharing a vision of the future, and strengthening the foundation of bilateral cooperation in the Antarctic system.

The heads of state observed that the goals set forth in the 1991 Joint Presidential Declaration to build a peaceful border, in keeping with the democratic mandate from their people, have auspiciously ushered in the twenty-first century. They also highlighted the December 15, 1998 Joint Declaration of Buenos Aires and the December 16, 1998 Declaration adopted for the signature of the agreement to delineate the border running from Monte Fitz Roy to El Cerro Daudet. They reiterated their satisfaction with the results achieved in implementing confidence- and security-building measures between the two countries and stressed the excellent level of cooperation and dialogue between the armed forces of the Argentine Republic and the Republic of Chile. Specifically, they said they were pleased with the progress made at the bilateral consultation meetings between the Ministers of

Foreign Affairs and Defense, held in Zapallar in July 1997 and in Campo de Mayo in June 1998. They stressed the contribution of those meetings to strengthening bilateral cooperation and coordinating positions on security and defense issues, by lending guidance and support to the consultations and coordination carried out in both the Standing Committee on Security and the Consultation Mechanism for Armed Forces General Staff.

The presidents reaffirmed the desire for their governments to follow up on the agreements adopted at the Summits of the Americas in Miami and Santiago regarding confidence- and security-building measures and the progress made at the Defense Ministerial of the Americas and the conferences on confidence- and security-building measures that have been held. They also stressed the importance of the 1998 Political Declaration establishing MERCOSUR, Bolivia, and Chile as a Zone of Peace, because of its contribution to integration and heightened regional dialogue.

The two leaders agreed to continue to promote confidence- and security-building measures both bilaterally and regionally, praising the spirit behind them and their contribution to international peace and security. To that end, they acknowledged the importance of continuing to submit information to the UN Register of Conventional Arms and the Standardized International Reporting of Military Expenditures.

The presidents highlighted the benefit of clearly articulating their countries' defense policies, through the publication in Chile of the Defense Book and in Argentina of the laws and presidential declarations on the matter. In this context, they said they wished to underscore the important step taken jointly by their governments in requesting that the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) prepare a proposal on establishing a common standardized methodology for measuring defense spending in Argentina and Chile and instructed the competent authorities in their respective countries to implement the measures they deemed appropriate in order to execute the ECLAC proposal as soon as possible, in the hope of seeing this joint decision extend to the rest of the region.

Presidents Menem and Frei, in signing this declaration to commemorate the "fraternal embrace at the Magellan Straits", expressed their hope that the spirit of transparency and deep friendship it enshrines would grow and bear fruit in the form of increasingly closer ties between the people of Argentina and Chile.

Signed in Ushuaia in the Argentine Republic on February 16, 1999.


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