President Alberto Fernández crossed the River Plate on Thursday to meet up with his Uruguayan colleague Luis Lacalle Pou in the first meeting between the two leaders since the latter’s inauguration on March 1 (missed by Fernández due to his having to deliver his first state-of-the-nation speech to Congress the same day).
The meeting, which did not figure in the official agenda of either president, took place at the presidential ranch in Anchorena, near Colonia.
It centred on a lunch also shared by Argentine Ambassador to Montevideo Alberto Iribarne and Uruguayan Foreign Minister Francisco Bustillo (Uruguay’s ambassador here between 2005 and 2010).
Not much detail was forthcoming from either side about the meeting – the two men discussed bilateral, Mercosur and regional issues and "common interests," according to Uruguayan presidential spokespersons, while it was “a very good and relaxed meeting in which we discussed the problems of the region in general and Argentina and Uruguay in particular … seeking much deeper links," Fernández was quoted as saying by a communiqué.
"We also believe that we have to work together so that the region can reunite, respecting ideological diversity and making us strong in a globalised world. We are convinced that together we can contribute much towards this objective," added Fernández, according to the communiqué.
Even if there have been various telephone conversations since then, the last meeting between the two men was last December 10, when then president-elect Lacalle Pou accompanied outgoing president Tabaré Vázquez to the inauguration of Fernández.