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ARGENTINA | 12-01-2024 13:37

Pope Francis set to receive Javier Milei at the Vatican next month

Reports in Argentina say pontiff will receive libertarian leader at the Vatican on February 11, though presidential spokesman says trip is not yet confirmed.

Pope Francis is expected to receive President Javier Milei at the Vatican next month, according to reports.

Milei, a once-vocal critic of the Argentine pontiff who has U-turned on his views since taking office, will make the trip and attempt to persuade the Pope to make his first trip to homeland later this year or next.

The meeting will take place on February 11 during the canonisation ceremony of Mama Antula, the first Argentine saint, local reports said.

Presidential Spokesman Manuel Adorni said today in a press conference that the meeting is not yet confirmed.

Prospects of a meeting arose after the head of state sent a letter to Pope Francis to officially invite him to visit Argentina.

In the letter, Milei said that "[the Pope’s] trip will bring fruits of pacification and brotherhood of all Argentines, [who are] eager to overcome divisions and confrontations."

The letter was distributed on the government’s social networks, and posts included a photo of Milei signing the letter, accompanied by his sister Karina Milei, the secretary general of the Presidency, .

"You know well that you do not need an invitation to come to your beloved Argentina. At the risk of saying the unnecessary, I invite you to visit our beloved Homeland, according to the dates and places that will be indicated to us," Milei said in the letter.

"Bearing in mind your advice to have the necessary wisdom and courage, in my first weeks of government I have proceeded to propose a series of government measures aimed at transforming the situation that the Argentine Republic has been suffering for decades,” the Libertad Avanza leader wrote.

Milei also emphasised Argentina’s current economic and social fragility: "We are aware that these decisions may deepen inequalities, so our top priority is to protect our most vulnerable compatriots, thanking the collaboration of the Catholic Church, whose action in the social field is invaluable.”

"As President of the Argentine Nation, I consider that your trip will bring fruits of pacification and twinning of all Argentines, eager to overcome our divisions and confrontations. Your presence and your message will contribute to the much desired unity of all our compatriots and will provide us with the collective strength necessary to preserve our peace and work for the prosperity and growth of our beloved Argentine Republic," Milei said.

Adorni anticipated Milei’s letter in a morning press conference at Casa Rosada, who said that the presence of the Pope would foster unity and will give "the necessary strength to preserve peace, to work for prosperity and the enlargement of the country.”

During the electoral process, Milei maintained a strong tension with the Catholic Church. The libertarian president made polemic statements against Francis during his candidacy, branding the Buenos Aires-born pontiff "a communist."



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