And its hola and bienvenido to Britain from us!

I have seen what happens to people who lunch with Margaret Thatcher. They get deported to Spain
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TODAY, BY arrangement with Sun Newspapers, I am delighted to announce that President Carlos Menem of Argentina has agreed to answer readers' queries in person, himself, in the flesh. A great honour, Senor Presidente, and may we have the first question, please?

Did you really write that article in `The Sun' about the Falklands War?

President Menem writes: Yes, Mr Menem wishes it to be known that he really did write that article by Alastair Campbell, himself.

So it really was by Alastair Campbell, was it?

President Menem writes: No, no, just my little joke. We have a great respect in Argentina for your British sense of humour. After all, who else but a nation with a great sense of humour would want to hang on to the God-forsaken Malvinas islands?

Well, Margaret Thatcher did, didn't she?

President Menem writes: My friends, who else but a nation with a great sense of humour would want to hang on to Margaret Thatcher?

Hmmmm... As a matter of interest, did you have lunch with Margaret Thatcher when you came to visit Britain?

President Menem writes: Certainly not! I have seen what happens to people who have lunch dates with Margaret Thatcher. They get arrested and deported to Spain. Besides which, it would not do me much good back home to be seen dining with Margaret Thatcher, who has been guilty of so many crimes against humanity.

Are you thinking of her treatment of the miners?

President Menem writes: To some extent. But mostly her voice and her hairdo.

President Menem, you said in Alastair Campbell's article in `The Sun' that you were sorry about the Falklands War.

President Menem writes: Yes. I am sorry.

But sorry in what way?

President Menem writes: I am sorry we lost.

But...

President Menem writes: Of course I am sorry we lost. Is anyone ever glad to lose? Is anyone ever unhappy to win?

But...

President Menem writes: When Argentina beat England in the recent World Cup... Perhaps I'll say that again... When Argentina recently beat England in the World Cup, knocking them out and sending them home to prepare for their defeat against Sweden - when Argentina beat England in the World Cup, I say, were you sorry that you lost?

Yes.

President Menem writes: Did you think England deserved to beat Argentina?

No.

President Menem writes: Well, then. In exactly the same way, I was sorry we lost the Malvinas war. Incidentally, well done to Glenn Hoddle for beating Luxembourg! It is nice to know there is somewhere you can still beat.

As a matter of interest, did you come to Europe for the World Cup?

President Menem writes: Yes, I was in France at the time of the World Cup, but I was not there really for the football. I had come to pay a visit to the town of St Malo.

And did you have a pleasant holiday?

President Menem writes: My friend, one does not go to St Malo on holiday. It is is far too full of tourists for that. No, I was re-establishing the old links between Argentina and St Malo.

What links?

President Menem writes: You did not know, perhaps, that the Falkland Islands were first settled by sailors who came from St Malo? The French word for them is Malouines. That is how we got the word Malvinas.

So I was saying hello to the people of St Malo, and promising that when we got the Malvinas back from the British, we would give them straight back to the people of St Malo.

You're joking?

President Menem writes: Yes, I am joking. I was in fact in St Malo to help advise them on the invasion.

What invasion?

President Menem writes: Well, just off the coast of France there are some disputed islands called the Channel Islands, which the French are very desirous of having back. However, they are occupied by the English. So the French are planning to send an occupation force...

You're joking, aren't you?

President Menem writes: Am I?

Thank you to President Menem for being so frank and free. President Menem appears by courtesy of Alastair Campbell Productions.

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