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Argentina unhurt in 2012 by U.S. loan hurdles-source
* Washington voted against loans to Argentina at IADB
* The credits were approved despite U.S. opposition
* U.S. wants Argentina to respect arbitration rulings
* Gov't source says loans for 2012 already secured
BUENOS AIRES, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Washington's decision to vote against loans for Argentina from multilateral development banks will not affect the country's funding for 2012, an Argentine government source said on Wednesday.
Last week, Marisa Lago, an assistant secretary at the U.S. Treasury Department, told Congress her government had voted against a $230 million loan to Argentina from the Inter-American Development Bank to send a message that the country must live up to its international obligations.
She said Washington would continue voting against such loans there and at the World Bank.
"The impact (the U.S. strategy) could potentially have on voting in these organizations will not be felt in 2012 because all the loans planned for 2012 have already been approved by the boards of directors," a government source told reporters, adding the loans for next year totaled some $2.3 billion.
The source spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.
The U.S. move seems to have been prompted by demands from Azurix Corp, which says Argentina refuses to honor a ruling by the World Bank's ICSID arbitration tribunal to compensate it for prematurely scrapping a 30-year water concession during the country's crippling 2001-02 economic crisis. [ID:nN1E7770XN]
The ICSID is known as the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes.
In 2002, Argentina devalued its peso after 10 years of a one-to-one peg to the dollar and it also put public utility tariffs into pesos, angering private companies.
The country also defaulted that year on some $100 billion in sovereign debt.
So-called holdout creditors who rejected Argentina's swaps for defaulted debt in 2005 and 2010 and whose U.S. court judgments have been skirted by Argentina have also lobbied the U.S. government to step up pressure on the country.
Lago told the U.S. House of Representatives' Financial Services Committee last week that Washington was concerned about Argentina's failure to honor its ICSID awards and its "unwillingness to engage with its creditors."
Referring to a Sept. 14 IADB meeting, she said: "We voted no to send a message of our concerns about this, we will continue to vote no for loans to Argentina in the MDBs (multilateral development banks) and we will look forward to engaging with other donors who may share our concern."
"We value (the) ICSID, we believe that countries need to live up to their international obligations," Lago said.
Azurix's lawyers also petitioned the U.S. government to withhold support for Argentina's request to restructure between $8 billion and $9 billion in defaulted debt owed to the Paris Club of wealthy creditor nations.
Argentina's deputy economy minister, Roberto Feletti, did not respond directly to a question regarding the potential impact of Washington's new stance on the Paris Club talks.
But he did say that it had a "neutral impact" on loan disbursements from the IADB.
"The facts show that at the IADB, the credits for Argentina were approved despite a negative vote from the United States -- one on September 14th and another one yesterday," Feletti said on Tuesday.
"The impact is neutral, there is no restriction on the loans that Argentina has solicited from the IADB," he added. (Reporting by Hilary Burke and Magdalena Morales, editing by Bernard Orr)
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