Tuesday, February 27, 2024

ARGENTINA | 27-11-2023 11:27

Milei lines up ‘protocol meetings’ in United States with IMF, World Bank

President-elect has meetings scheduled with Juan Gonzalez, the National Security Council senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs, and officials from International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Argentina's president-elect Javier Milei travelled to the United States on Sunday to meet with US and international officials during a two-day visit.

The La Libertad Avanza leader will arrive in New York on a private visit Monday.

"Heading to the United States. Long live freedom, dammit!" Milei posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Milei will hold "protocol meetings to explain the economic plan: fiscal adjustment, monetary reform, state reform and deregulation," a spokesman for the president-elect told the AFP news agency.

"It is not about seeking financing," he emphasised.

Milei will travel on to Washington later Monday, where he will meet with Juan Gonzalez, the National Security Council senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs, diplomatic sources told AFP, on condition of anonymity.

Milei's agenda through Tuesday also includes conversations with Treasury Department officials and functionaries for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the sources said.

"They will be introductory meetings at a technical level to generate common synergies and to understand how we would work together in the future," US Ambassador to Argentina Marc Stanley said this week when asked Milei’s visit.

Milei will arrive with several members of his team, including his future Cabinet chief Nicolás Posse and Luis ‘Toto’ Caputo, an advisor on financial matters who is seen as a likely Cabinet member. 

Caputo served in former president Mauricio Macri’s 2015-2019 government.

On Friday, the future president held a first remote chat from Buenos Aires with the managing director of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva.

Argentina has a US$44-billion debt to the IMF, negotiated in 2018 by Macri, now Milei's main ally.

Milei will assume the Presidency on December 10, succeeding Peronist head of state Alberto Fernández.


Invitation to Lula

Also on Sunday, it was announced that Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been invited to Milei's inauguration.

Brazil’s Foreign Ministry said that Diana Mondino, tipped to be Milei’s future foreign minister, had travelled to Brasilia, carrying a  letter of "invitation from President-elect Javier Milei for President Lula to participate in his inauguration."

During the Argentine election campaign, the ultra-liberal had declared that if he became president he would not meet with the leftist leader, whom he described as "corrupt" and "communist,”

But Milei, who swept Argentina's presidential election a week ago, sent Lula a "greeting with esteem and respect" and invited him to his inauguration ceremony on December 10, according to the letter, dated Saturday and published by Brazilian media the following day.

In the one-page document, Milei expressed his wish that Argentina and Brazil, major trading partners, enter "period of fruitful work and the building of ties.”

Asked about Milei's harsh comments against Lula during the campaign, Mondino told reporters after the meeting that "criticism of ideology is one thing and criticism of the person is another," and clarified, "The camaraderie" between the two countries "will continue as best and as quickly" as possible. 

Brazil Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira also seemed to agree on turning the page, pointing out that "what was discussed in the campaign is one thing and what happens in the government is another.”

Mondino stressed the "importance of signing as soon as possible" the long-delayed free-trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur, the South American bloc from which Milei threatened to pull Argentina.

A visit by Lula to the changeover ceremony in Argentina is not guaranteed, however, Vieira said, noting that the leftist leader has not seen Milei's letter and the two leaders have not spoken on the phone.


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