Buenos Aires Times

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Macri, Bolsonaro to meet with focus on Mecrosur, Venezuela

A meeting between the presidents of South America's largest economies is scheduled to take place in two weeks in Brazil.

Wednesday 2 January, 2019
President Mauricio Macri (left) and Jair Bolsonaro.
President Mauricio Macri (left) and Jair Bolsonaro. Foto:File-Perfil

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Mauricio Macri and Jair Bolsonaro will meet in Brasilia in two weeks to develop a bilateral agenda and in particular a joint approach to the Mercosur trading bloc and Venezuela, according to media reports.

President Macri did not attend Bolsonaro's inauguration on Tuesday, instead sending Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Faurie.

The pair will meet on January 16 in the Brazilian capital, the Foreign Ministry confirmed.

"I wish to send my best wishes to Jair Bolsonaro on the day he becomes the president of Brazil, our friend and brother country. I trust that our governments will continue collaborating for the prosperity of our people", Macri wrote on Twitter. 

The head of state is currently on holidaying in the Patagonia with his wife and daughter.

CHALLENGES

Macri is set for major challenges with his counterpart in Brazil, whose officials have expressed disinterest in the Mercosur trading bloc.

In October, Brazil's new Finance Minister Paulo Guedes said "Argentina is not a priority, neither is the Mercosur".

Bolsonaro's Foreign Affairs Minister Ernesto Araújo represented Brazil during the construction of the bloc in the 1980s alongside his current Argentine counterpart Faurie. The pair met as recently as December during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires alongside Argentine Production Minister Dante Sica.

The Bolsonaro administration "sees a need to bring greater dynamism to the Mercosur", Faurie said at the time. "The government of Bolsonaro aims to put value on [Brazil's] relationship with Washington", he added.

US President Donald Trump was also absent from Tuesday's inauguration and opted for a Twitter message.

"Congratulations to President @jairbolsonaro who just made a great inauguration speech," he tweeted. "The U.S.A. is with you!"

Bolsonaro chose to visit Chile instead of making the traditional first-stop presidential visit to Argentina.

-TIMES/PERFIL

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