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The wife of embattled South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford called his affair with an Argentine woman “inexcusable” but said she is willing to forgive him.

Jenny Sanford’s statement was her first public comment since Mark said his mistress is his soul mate but he is trying to fall back in love with his wife.

“My forgiveness is essential for us both to move on with our lives, with peace, in whatever direction that may be,” Jenny Sanford said in the statement.

“Mark has stated to me that his only intent and determination is to save our marriage, and to make amends to the people of South Carolina. I hope he can make good on those intentions, and for the sake of our boys.”

Jenny Sanford said it is up to South Carolina voters and elected officials to decide whether they can “give Mark another chance.”

Mark Sanford returned last week from a secret trip to Argentina to see his mistress, Maria Belen Chapur. His staff had told the public he was hiking the Appalachian Trail alone, and he later apologized for misleading them.

Jenny Sanford said she learned of the affair in January when she discovered a letter Sanford had written to Chapur. She said he had repeatedly asked permission to go to Argentina to see Maria Belen Chapur, but she did not permit it.

Spokesman Joel Sawyer said Mark “remains determined to repair the damage he has done in his marriage and to the trust of the people of South Carolina.”

The embattled Republican has brushed aside calls to resign as state police announced they had found the governor used no taxpayer money to see Maria Belen Chapur during two visits to Argentina and three meetings in New York City.

Should Jenny Sanford forgive Mark Sanford?