Argentina asked Brazil on Wednesday for its support in the thorny issue of its debt negotiatins with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), during a meeting between foreign ministers from the two nations in Brasilia.
Foreign Minister Felipe Solá met first with his Brazilian counterpart Ernesto Araújo in Brasilia Wednesday, before later meeting with President Jair Bolsonaro. Both sides sought to calm tensions and rising rhetoric, which escalated after President Alberto Fernández replaced Mauricio Macri as Argentina's president.
"We have asked our Brazilian brothers to also support us in any way they can at the IMF," Solá told the press after meeting with his counterpart Ernesto Araújo.
The request coincides with the arrival in Buenos Aires of an IMF mission team that will seek define Argentina's attempts to restructure its debt burden, which Fernández considers unpayable as long as Latin America's third largest economy does not recover growth.
\"It is the first step in a stage, a ladder that follows if we reach a good agreement (...) We ask for time to grow and to pay, we are not going to fall into default again as the Argentine government," assured Solá, who was accompanied by Daniel Scioli, who has been asked by President Fernández to take up the post of Argentina's ambassador to Brazil.
"The future of Argentina needs this negotiation with the external front and it conditions the moment to think about the future. This conditioning has influenced the fact that we did not have an immediate ratification of the agreement between the European Union and Mercosur," he added.
The agreement between Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) and the EU was reached in June, but has yet to be ratified by the respective legislatures of the member countries of both blocs, which seems a tough ask.
During the election campaign, Fernández, who took office in December 2019, expressed his reticence about the agreement, but in early February, at a meeting with German Prime Minister Angela Merkel in Berlin, he urged that it be "materialised.”
The meetings in Brasilia are the highest level summits between the two governments, after months of tension dating back to the Argentine election campaign. The two foreign ministers described the meeting as "extremely productive.”
Solá later met with Bolsonaro at the Planalto Palace, something that could open the door to a future bilateral summit.
Araújo also stated that both governments share the "intention of installing Mercosur as an attractive brand" and defended that the bloc, "in order to grow, must make agreements with other countries.”
"We are going to try not to be an obstacle to the possibility of progress," he concluded.
Local reports suggested that Bolsonaro had proposed to Solá that the two presidents should meet face-to-face in Montevideo on March 1, with both likely to attend the inauguration of Uruguay's new president Luis Lacalle Pou.