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ARGENTINA | 13-02-2024 16:46

President Milei returns to Argentina after positive international tour

President Javier Milei arrived back in Argentina early Tuesday morning, fresh off his successful international tour of Israel, Italy and the Vatican.

President Javier Milei arrived back in Argentina on Tuesday morning, fresh off the back of a successful international tour and ready to dive back into his domestic agenda.

Milei, 53, spent last week on a foreign tour of Israel, Italy and the Vatican, with a 70-minute meeting with Pope Francis drawing the most attention.

Government sources said the president left his audience with the Argentine pontiff very satisfied. 

Bilateral meetings with Milei’s Italian counterpart, Sergio Mattarella, and far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, were also said to have gone well.

Milei’s return to the country should see his domestic agenda rise once again to the fore. During his time away from Argentina, the libertarian leader’s sweeping ‘omnibus bill’ reform package stalled in Congress, before being sent back to committee stage.

Following the congressional defeat, leaders in Milei’s La Libertad Avanza party are looking into the possibility of firming up ties with the right-wing PRO party founded by former president Mauricio Macri.

A number of officials from Macri’s 2015-2019 government, including ex-PRO chair Patricia Bullrich, already serve in Milei’s administration and there are rumours that those ranks could be boosted by even more as part of an agreement to guarantee legislative support for the minority ruling party in Congress.

Milei and his closest aides are expected to negotiate with Macri and fine-tune his strategy regarding the provincial governments and dramatic cutbacks in federal revenue-sharing funds.


‘Very pleasant’

Without a doubt, Milei’s meeting with Pope Francis drew the eye over the past week.

On Tuesday – as he faced questions about the president’s encounter with the former cardinal Jorge Bergoglio at the Vatican – Milei’s Worship (Cults) Secretary, Francisco Sánchez highlighted its cordial nature after their tense previous relations.

“It was a very pleasant, very cordial meeting. When our retinue went in to greet the Holy Father and take the photo it was a very good moment because he told a joke about each one of us, knowing whom he was welcoming,” he said in an interview with Rock and Pop radio station.

In the same vein, he forecast that His Holiness might visit Argentina in August, prior to the local synod of bishops which he must preside over, although he did clarify it was not a confirmed date, merely an idea.

Furthermore, he stressed the Supreme Pontiff’s forgiveness for Milei’s insults during last year’s election campaign.

“We’re all part of a Judaeo-Christian tradition which includes reconciliation: both sin and forgiveness are a part of our tradition,” maintained Sánchez.

Sánchez said he agreed with the Church leader’s line that everyone in society should be “worried about the economic and social situation and the implications the situation carries.”

“What the State does is not enough, we have to make a great effort from all sectors. [Finding] the solution will take a very long time,” he argued.

 

– TIMES/NA
 

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