BUENOS AIRES — US President Barack Obama offered Argentina help in pursuing the perpetrators of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires.
At a news conference Wednesday in Buenos Aires following his meeting with Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri, Obama said he would visit a memorial to the bombing victims at the city’s Metropolitan Cathedral.
“I told President Macri that the United States offers whatever help we can to finally hold these attackers accountable,” Obama said.
Macri was expected to ask Obama to declassify information held by the US government following a request from the father of one of the bombing victims.
Jewish leaders and American lawmakers had asked Obama to visit the actual site of the AMIA bombing, but the president declined. Leaders of the Argentine Jewish community were invited to a gala dinner with Obama and Macri on Wednesday night.
Earlier this month Macri promised to “make headway” in investigating the bombing in an address to Jewish leaders in the capital city.
“We are fully committed to contribute in any way we can to make headway with this investigation,” said Macri.
His government, during its first week in power in December, voided an agreement with Iran to jointly investigate the AMIA bombing, calling it “unconstitutional.”
“Here, we suffer the ravaging consequences of two bomb attacks. We are still in the dark of what happened,” Macri said.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said the embassy and AMIA attacks “were not just attacks on Jews, but attacks on Argentina.” He also said the shooting death of Alberto Nisman, the Argentine prosecutor who was investigating the AMIA bombing, was “not just an attack on a Jewish lawyer. This was an attack on Argentina’s entire system of justice.”
The Argentine judiciary has not yet determined whether Nisman’s death was a homicide or suicide.
“President Macri, you have promised that after all this time, Argentina will bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice,” Lauder said at the gala at the Sheraton Hotel in Buenos Aires. “We believe you. We trust you. And the World Jewish Congress stands with you to help in any way that we can.”