Spain-Argentina row over drug-use accusation

 Javier Milei  at a Falklands event earlier this month.
Argentina's President Javier Milei has a history of confrontation with other leaders [EPA]

A huge diplomatic row has erupted after Spain's transport minister suggested Argentina's president had used drugs.

Oscar Puente said Javier Milei had ingested "substances" during his election campaign last year.

Mr Milei hit back condemning the "slander and insults" and attacked the policies of Spain's Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

The clash comes after a cooling of relations between the two countries since the election of the Argentine far-right leader.

The row started on Friday when Mr Puente was speaking during a panel discussion organised by his Spanish Socialist Workers' Party.

"There are very bad people who, just being themselves, have reached the top. Milei, for instance. Trump," he told attendees.

Referring to the Argentine president appearing on TV during his election campaign last year, he said he did not know what state Mr Milei was in - "prior to ingestion or after ingestion" of substances.

In its response, Mr Milei's office said Spain had more important things to deal with, like the corruption accusations against Mr Sánchez's wife - which Madrid's public prosecutor has said should be shelved for lack of evidence.

The statement went on to say the prime minister's Socialist policies had brought "death and poverty" to Spaniards, "endangered women by allowing illegal immigrants who attacked them" and undermined Spain's integrity by making deals with separatists - a reference to the coalition government with Catalonia's largest separatist party.

In turn, the Spanish foreign ministry has issued a statement in which it "rejects the unfounded words" which "do not correspond to the relations between the two brotherly countries and peoples".

Mr Milei has publicly supported Spain's far-right anti-immigration Vox party.

He is due to visit Spain in two weeks' to attend the launch of Vox's European election campaign, newspaper El Pais reported.

Mr Milei has a history of spats with other world leaders.

He has described Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as an "angry communist" and corrupt, and called Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador "ignorant".

He also called the Colombian President Gustavo Petro "a terrorist murderer" referring to him being a past member of a guerilla group.

The insult caused Colombia to expel a number of Argentine diplomats in response.