Argentina tells Spain to expect ‘no apology’ as diplomatic row intensifies

‘Respect is indisputable,’ Pedro Sánchez said of Milei’s comments about him and his wife

The diplomatic row between Argentina and Spain has deepened. Senior officials in President Javier Milei’s administration said the president will not apologize to Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez after calling his wife “corrupt.” Sánchez has been quick to condemn the comments.

Milei’s remarks came during a far-right political convention on Sunday in Madrid. “Affection between governments is free, but respect is indisputable,” Sánchez said Monday.

“We have asked the current Argentine president for a public rectification, and the answer of the Spanish government will go in line with the dignity of Spanish democracy and the fraternal ties that link Spain and Argentina,” Sánchez said during a speech at economic forum CREO.

On Monday, Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares met with Argentine ambassador Roberto Bosch after asking him to apologize on behalf of Milei. Argentine Foreign Minister Diana Mondino told Clarín that during the meeting, Bosch mentioned offensive comments made by Spanish officials and said Argentine authorities trust relations between the two governments “can be redirected to put them in line with what our societies demand of us.” Albares, she said, insisted on the strong rejection of Milei’s comments.

On Sunday, Albares recalled Spanish ambassador to Argentina María Jesús Alonso Jiménez for consultation sine die, meaning she is to return to her home country indefinitely.  Mondino said she spoke with Alonso Jiménez before she left for Madrid on Sunday night, but didn’t give any details about the conversation.

The Argentine Foreign Ministry and the Spanish Embassy in Buenos Aires did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Herald.

Before his meeting with Bosch, Albares told Spanish outlet Cadena Ser Spain could break diplomatic ties with Argentina if Milei does not apologize. “We don’t want to take such measures, but if there’s no public apology, we will do it.” Neither Bosch nor Albares have made any statements after the meeting.

Diplomatic relations between Spain and Argentina have swiftly gone south since Milei appeared as one of the main speakers at an event organized by the far-right Spanish political party, Vox. Without naming her, he called the Spanish First Lady Begoña Gómez “corrupt” during his speech, because of accusations that she had been involved in an influence peddling scandal. Spanish prosecutors dropped the investigation into her because there was no proof of her involvement.

“The president will not apologize because he has nothing to apologize for,” Presidential spokesman Manuel Adorni told news channel LN+ on Sunday night after the Spanish foreign minister requested a public apology. “He didn’t mention Pedro Sánchez or anyone from the Spanish government, they took what he said [about corruption] as their own and linked it to what effectively happened with Sánchez’s wife.”

Adorni said that Milei’s comments are personal in nature and “have nothing to do with institutional or diplomatic issues.” He argued they should not affect relations between the two countries. He added that the government would like Spanish authorities to “apologize to Milei for the mistreatment and insults he has received in the past two weeks.”

Madrid and Buenos Aires had already traded barbs after Spanish Transport Minister Oscar Puente suggested Milei was a drug user two weeks ago. Adorni also mentioned recent comments about Milei’s far-right stance and his denialism of state terrorism during the last military dictatorship made by other members of the Spanish cabinet as offensive to Milei.

Interior Minister Guillermo Francos likewise said that Milei would not apologize during an interview with news channel TN Sunday night. “The aggression came from Sánchez’s government,” he said. “They asked him to apologize, but he doesn’t feel like he has to. They can wait, it won’t happen.”

He added that he believed Ambasador Alonso Jiménez would return to Argentina shortly. “It is ridiculous that they want to break ties with Argentina,” he said.

“The lion has returned, surfing a wave of socialist tears,” Milei posted on X Monday morning after flying back to Argentina. He also reposted dozens of tweets supporting him and mocking Sánchez, even expressing pride at the fact that the hashtag “PedroVigilaATuEsposa” (Pedro, watch your wife) had gone viral.

The bloc of opposition Unión por la Patria deputies in the Mercosur parliament said that Milei’s comments were “the corollary of an accumulation of diplomatic faux-pas that have been putting Argentina in a marginal and vulgar position in the global conversation.” In a statement, they noted that Milei has also antagonized Latin American heavyweights including Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia, as well as canceling Argentina’s plans to join the BRICS bloc. “As if that wasn’t enough, relations are now being put under strain with one of our main trading partners in Europe,” the statement read.

Socialist deputies Esteban Paulón and Mónica Fein have formally requested that Mondino go to Congress to give explanations on the state of the diplomatic ties between Argentina and Spain, as well as the European Union.


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