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ARGENTINA | 20-11-2023 13:23

Javier Milei confirms visits to United States, Israel before December 10 inauguration

Libertarian president-elect Javier Milei, who will be sworn-in as Argentina's head of state on December 10, confirms visits to New York, Miami and Israel before inauguration.

Argentina's president-elect Javier Milei has confirmed that he will travel to the United States and Israel before he assumes office on December 10.

The La Libertad Avanza leader also revealed that he received a call from Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou in the early hours of Monday morning.

Milei's trip to the United States and Israel has more of "a spiritual connotation than other characteristics," the president-elect revealed in an interview with Eduardo Feinmann on Radio Mitre saying that he planned to visit his "rabbi friends" in New York and Miami.

"I'm going to Israel from New York. We were talking about it yesterday [Sunday] with the Israeli Ambassador in Argentina" Eyal​ Sela, he said.

Milei said there is no confirmed date for the trip but said it would happen "in the next few days."

This will be Milei's second trip to the United States this year. He last travelled north after the August 13 PASO primaries, in which he emerged as the most voted-for candidate. That trip to New York was for "personal reasons," his inner circle briefed.

Milei won Argentina’s presidential election by a landslide, defeating the incumbent candidate, Economy Minister Sergio Massa, by nearly 12 percentage points, a margin nobody expected.

The La Libertad Avanza leader's support of Israel and Judaism is well-known. Milei has repeatedly pledged to deepen relations with the United States and Israel, a shift away from the current government’s approach to focus more on relations with Brazil and China.

The trip will be read as backing Israel’s strategy in Gaza at a time other Latin American leaders have questioned it.

Milei has strongly criticised President Alberto Fernández's administration for its response to the October 7 terror attack by the Hamas terror group against Israel and its so-far unsuccessful attempts to free hostages being held by the Palestinian group.

A total of 21 Argentines were kidnapped in last month's assault and they are still being detained. Among them is a five-year-old and nine-month-old baby.

"The position adopted by the Argentine Foreign Ministry is too soft for the aberrant situation that is happening [in Israel]," Milei said at a meeting of opposition lower house leaders last month. 

The libertarian has also stated that one of his first measures as president of Argentina would be to move the nation's Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – echoing a proposal made by former US president Donald Trump.

Argentina is home to one of the world’s largest Jewish communities outside Israel.

Israel Foreign Affairs Minister Eli Cohen congratulated the president-elect on X, formerly known as Twitter, while extending an invite. 

“We hope to work with you to strengthen relations between Israel and Argentina and deepen the ties between the countries,” Cohen wrote in a Spanish post. “I invite you to soon visit Israel to continue our dialogue and inaugurate the Argentine Embassy in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.”

After winning first place in the primary election in August, Milei traveled to Miami to pray and learn about Judaism ahead of Rosh Hashanah.


Lacalle Pou call

Moving onto his proposed foreign policy for Argentina and international relations, the 53-year-old economist said he had received congratulatory messages from several presidents of other countries.

He highlighted his talks with Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou, who called him in the early hours of Monday morning while on a state visit to China.

"At 4:30 in the morning I spoke to Lacalle Pou, who was at the Wall of China. It was a truly formidable talk," said Milei.

"Lacalle Pou invited me to tell me about the state of relations and the issues we have to resolve, and given that we have a lot of affinity, we are going to resolve it over an asado" barbecue, said the president-elect.

Milei will look to reset relations with Uruguay, which deteriorated under President Fernández due to ideological disagreements over the future direction of the Mercosur trade bloc.




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