Economy Minister Martin Lousteau said in two interviews published Sunday that Argentina will not re-negotiate terms with holdouts who reject the country's 2005 plan to settle a gargantuan debt default.
Lousteau also said there was no "urgency" to set terms to repay more than US$6 billion (euro4 billion) in defaulted debt to the Paris Club of wealthy creditor nations.
Speaking with leading Argentine daily Clarin and the pro-government newspaper Pagina/12 in separate interviews, Lousteau stuck by government projections that the country's cumulative inflation rate for 2007 stood at 9.8 percent.
Many independent economists say inflation for 2007 is at least double that official figure, claiming the government manipulated data to make the economy appear more healthy than it is.
Officials have denied fudging numbers, and Lousteau insisted he expected inflation to be less than 10 percent for 2008 as well. Consumer price increases are an issue for the government, but not a "worry," he said.
President Cristina Fernandez began a four-year term on Dec. 10, succeeding her husband Nestor Kirchner, who negotiated a US$100 billion debt default settlement with creditors following Argentina's 2001-2002 economic crisis.
Lousteau, one of the few new Cabinet ministers appointed since Kirchner left office this month, said he had no plans to renegotiate terms with creditors still holding about US$20 billion (euro14 billion) in defaulted debt but who refused a 2005 deal offering that about one in every three dollars borrowed be repaid.
Meanwhile, Lousteau gave no timetable for settling Argentina's debt owed to members of the Paris Club, an umbrella group of 19 creditor nations including the United States.
Fernandez's government will continue talks with those countries, and stands by its insistence that the International Monetary Fund does not need to intervene to settle the default, he said.
IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who met with Fernandez Dec. 11, said then that Argentina's persisting Paris Club debt is limiting investment flows and potential benefits from export credits.