US to assist Argentine navy

WASHINGTON - The US has agreed in principle to assist Argentina in the modernisation of its ageing navy, according to diplomats in Washington, Rupert Cornwell writes. The move is a response to a request from Buenos Aires made several months ago, but only publicly revealed yesterday by the Argentine Foreign Minister, Guido di Tella.

No details were available of what equipment could be involved. Washington's willingness to help is seen as a reward for Argentina, which virtually alone among Latin American countries supports a US-led invasion of Haiti to restore the ousted president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

British arms sales to Argentina have been banned since the Falklands war in 1982.