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ARGENTINA | 14-12-2023 13:15

Davos, Israel and maybe the Vatican – Milei draws up plans for first foreign trip

Local news outlets, citing La Libertad Avanza sources, report Argentina’s new President Javier Milei will attend the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. Trips to Israel, Ukraine and potentially the Vatican to visit Pope Francis also being considered.

Argentina’s new President Javier Milei is drawing up plans to attend the World Economic Forum at the exclusive Davos mountain resort in Switzerland, according to reports.

Local news outlets, citing direct sources from Milei’s La Libertad Avanza party with access to the president, said that the head of state wants to attend the summit.

The new president would likely be accompanied by Foreign Minister Diana Mondino and Economy Minister Luis Caputo on his trip to the global event, which attracts world leaders, economic thinkers, business leaders and industry representatives.

Held in Cologny, in the eastern Alps, the forum’s mission statement is to improve “the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.”

Milei previously said on the campaign trail that his first overseas visit would be to Israel. It remains unclear what the first stop on the tour would be. The Noticias Argentinas news agency also said trips to Ukraine and the Vatican could be included on the itinerary.


Vatican visit(s)?

A stop at the Holy See would be closely watched by observers, given Milei’s previous criticism of Pope Francis.

In recent years the outspoken economist has referred to the Argentine-born pontiff as "the evil on Earth occupying the throne in the house of God," also calling him "sinister" and "an imbecile," as well as criticising him for "pushing Communism."

However, since winning last month’s election, Milei has refrained from his criticism and indicated he would welcome Pope Francis to Argentina, should the pontiff finally decide to make his long-awaited return to his homeland next year.

Earlier this week, Francis himself attempted to smooth over any controversy, pointing out that campaign politics are one thing and government another.

"You have to distinguish greatly between what a politician says during an electoral campaign and what he is really going to do afterwards when the moment of concrete reality and decisions arrives," said the Pope in an interview with the Mexican channel Televisa on Tuesday.
Asked expressly about his relationship with Milei, the Pope stated that in an electoral campaign things are said "which are used to draw a bit of attention but afterwards fall flat on their faces." 

Following his electoral victory, Milei received a telephone call from the leader of the Catholic Church.

"He called me to congratulate me, he appreciated my courage in this fight and urged me to have 'courage and wisdom.' I told him: 'I already have the guts and I’m working on the wisdom," said Milei about the pontifical call in an interview carried by YouTube.

In that same interview Milei revealed that he had invited the Pope to visit Argentina.

"I told him that he would be received with all the honours of a head of state and as the spiritual leader of Argentines because Catholicism is the majority religion in Argentina," he said.

The Pope gave no details as to any possible visit in his interview with Televisa, other than indicating he would like to do so.


– TIMES/AFP/NA

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