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Tillerson takes high road to tout Argentina engagement

Tillerson takes high road to tout Argentina engagement
February 4, 2018

WASHINGTON (AFP)-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Washington's top diplomat but also a Texas rancher, rode a horse up an Argentinian mountain Saturday to tout US engagement in environmental science.

The former chief executive of oil giant ExxonMobil is not known for his commitment to green causes, but aides said he wanted to meet US-backed scholars and national park staff.

So, on the third day of a five-nation tour of Latin America and Jamaica, he rode up Cerro Campanario above the spectacular lakes of the Nahuel Huapi National Park, outside the resort of Bariloche.

There he met the vice president of Argentina's national parks administration, former Greenpeace activist Emiliano Ezcurra, who took part in a 2010 State Department leadership program.

He also joined Noelia Barrios Garcia, an Argentinian scholar of the US-sponsored Fulbright program who studies the effect of invasive species on the Argentinian environment.

Tillerson chatted to the local experts privately, and would not allow reporters to watch him mount the horse he borrowed from a local tourist ranch and micro-brewery for the ride.

Afterwards, Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein said Tillerson had discussed plans to sign an agreement to share best practices and carry out personnel exchanges between Nahuel Huapi and US parks.