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ARGENTINA | 08-12-2023 14:38

Javier Milei meets with Jair Bolsonaro in Buenos Aires ahead of inauguration

Argentina's Javier Milei receives former Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro in Buenos Aires ahead of president-elect's inauguration on Sunday.

Argentina's president-elect Javier Milei received former Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro in Buenos Aires on Friday, two days before he is inauguration as Argentina's next head of state.

The duo, who are ideological allies, met for a "conversation between friends," said Bolsonaro. A video posted of the political pair on social media of the encounter shows them shaking hands and smiling as their friends and supporters cheer and chant in the background.

"It was a conversation between friends," Bolsonaro told journalists afterthe meeting. "He gave me a portrait of how Argentina is ... He is well aware of the responsibility he has given the situation in which his country finds itself."

"He hopes, with the team he is putting together, to find the turning point that will allow Argentina to be an economically recognised country in the world," added the former president, who served one term in office before losing his re-election bid to his arch-rival Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Milei will be sworn in on Sunday as Argentina's next of state. He will receive the presidential sash and baton from his predecessor, Alberto Fernandez, before delivering his inaugural speech from the steps of Congress.

Bolsonaro was one of Milei's most enthusiastic international supporters during Argentina's prolonged election campaign that culminated in the libertarian's shock victory over Peronist ruling coalition candidate Sergio Massa in the November 19 run-off.

Lula, who was insulted repeatedly on the campaign trail by Milei has declined to attend the libertarian leader's inauguration, Brazil is Argentina's largest trading partner.

"I have no opinion," Bolsonaro replied when asked by the press about Lula's absence. His supporters immediately began chanting afterwards that the current Brazilian leader should be jailed.

Bolsonaro himself refused to attend President Alberto Fernández's inauguration as Argentina's head of state back in December 2019, citing ideological differences.

Lula, who was called "corrupt" by Milei during the election campaign, has decided to send his foreign minister, Mauro Vieira, as Brazil's official representative at the ceremony.

Other far-right leaders invited by Milei to the events include Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and the leader of Spain's Vox party, Santiago Abascal.

Bolsonaro, who travelled to Argentina along with some 50 Brazilian governors, legislators and like-minded political leaders, arrived at the meeting with Milei after a stroll along Calle Florida in downtown Buenos Aires.

"The world is very divided between left and right. I'm a bit radical on that issue. They are not opponents, they are enemies," he told Radio Mitre in an interview earlier in the day.

"Milei's victory has meaning for the world," said Bolsonaro, who gave the interview while he walked the streets Buenos Aires. 

"We talked about the economy. Everyone knows that his school is Austrian, that he has to take quick measures," revealed the far-right leader.

"Argentina is much worse off than Brazil, Milei receives a country in a critical economic situation, but with the hope that with the team that Argentina is forming, it will once again be recognised economically in the world," he concluded.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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