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ARGENTINA | 14-11-2022 13:37

Alberto Fernández eyes progress in Bali at G20 summit

Russia-Ukraine talks and IMF surcharges on the agenda for the president, who will attend event hosted by US leader Joe Biden and hold a bilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Xi Jingping.

President Alberto Fernández arrived in Bali on Monday as the second leg of his latest international tour took him to Indonesia for the G20 Leaders Summit.

The head of state’s team has lined up a series of important meetings for the coming days, including facetime with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, a private bilateral meeting with Chinese premier Xi Jingping and a place at an exclusive conclave called by US President Joe Biden.

Arriving from Paris, where he spent time with Emmanuel Macron, assisting efforts to improve dialogue in Venezuela and drawing up plans to bring an end to hostilities in Ukraine, Argentina’s Peronist leader is hoping to seize on diplomatic momentum and position himself as a leading voice for peace in Latin America.

In tandem with his French counterpart, the president plans to advance on plans to facilitate dialogue between the Russian and Ukraine governments while in Bali and underline the impact of energy and food insecurity on the global South.

Upon arrival in Bali, Fernández is expected to attend a dinner hosted by Macron that will be focused on guaranteeing nuclear security in the context of the armed conflict. The event will also be attended by world leaders from different parts of the globe. 

On Tuesday, the president will attend the summit’s opening sessions and take part in a panel event on food and energy security. Later that afternoon, he will speak during a plenary session on health-related issues.

In the highlight of his first full day’s activity, Fernández also has the Global Infrastructure and Investment Partnership Event on his agenda, an activity organised by Biden and which he will attend as the only Latin American guest. 

A bilateral meeting with Biden is not scheduled to take place in the coming days, though talks over the Argentine leader’s eventual trip to Washington at a date yet to be finalised are expected to take place. A brief encounter on the sidelines of the G20 summit is possible.

 

Bilateral with Xi

Alongside his G20 schedule, Fernández has secured a one-on-one meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jingping on Tuesday (November 15). That will address rules regarding the currency swap between the two countries, including a potential expansion first trailed back in March.

The development of lithium will also play a prominent role in the talks between the two countries, which have cooperation agreements in place already.

The last bilateral meeting between the two leaders took place in February at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. During exchanges, both sides agreed to continue working to deepen political, commercial, economic, scientific and cultural cooperation relations.

Bilateral meetings with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Germany's Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida are also said to be under consideration.

The following day, the president will meet with IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva, with Argentina’s leader expected to once again request a review of surcharges imposed on member states that have contracted debt with the multilateral lender. 

Speaking in Paris prior to departing for Indonesia, Fernández said that he had told the IMF head that “the effects of the war were damaging the whole world, not only Europe, not only Russia and Ukraine, but for Argentina in particular.”

Furthermore, he added, "I once again raised the need to review once and for all the surcharges, which in our opinion are very unfair mechanisms that affect the countries most affected by debts, and which in a case like Argentina are also the result of an absolutely irresponsible indebtedness that was taken on," once again pointing the finger at his predecessor in office, Mauricio Macri, whose government took on the 2018 US$57-billion stand-by agreement with the Fund.

President Fernández is being accompanied by a number of key ministers in Bali, including Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero and Economy Minister Sergio Massa.

 

– TIMES/NA

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