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ARGENTINA | 10-01-2022 16:28

Cafiero to visit Washington for meeting with US secretary of state

Argentina’s foreign minister set to meet Antony Blinken on January 18, just a few weeks before President Alberto Fernández is due to travel to China to see Xi Jingping.

Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero will travel to Washington DC in the coming days ahead of a high-level meeting next week with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Cafiero, 42, is due to discuss a host of topics with his US counterpart at the meeting, scheduled for January 18, including Argentina’s ongoing talks with the International Monetary Fund, climate change and human rights, sources with knowledge of the trip confirmed to Bloomberg on Monday.

While he and Blinken are expected to touch on the country’s US$44-billion debt with the IMF, they will not discuss the technical details of ongoing negotiations over a new financing programme, the source added, with the focus on strengthening the relationship with US President Joe Biden’s government.

Beyond the meeting with Blinken, the foreign minister has a "vast" agenda of activities for his trip, government sources told Noticias Argentinas. He hopes to have high-level "political" conversations about the ongoing talks with the IMF, they added.

Cafiero’s trip will take place less than a week after Argentina hosted a summit of the CELAC regional bloc of 33 nations, at which President Alberto Fernández was unanimously elected to hold the pro-tempore presidency for the next year. Opposition lawmakers criticised the government for its desire to lead the bloc, which many see as hostile to the United States.

The foreign minister met with Economy Minister Martín Guzmán on Friday ahead of his trip, two days after meeting with Fernández to discuss his agenda. The president told the Tèlam state new agency on Wednesday that they had "define the objectives and agenda of his trip to the United States, within our framework of our geopolitical view."

For his part, Cafirero said that “the agenda we have with the United States is very important and there are many points in common that we will continue to promote. There may be different opinions and respecting them is essential. As with other countries, there will be some things that we agree on and others that we don't."

President Fernández is scheduled to travel to China early next month for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics and for a meeting with Chinese Premier Xi Jingping. The trip, which could be cancelled given the surge in Covid cases in Argentina, could potentially anger Washington, which has decided not to send diplomatic delegates to the event citing human rights concerns.

At press time, the Casa Rosada confirmed that the trip to Beijing would go ahead, while informing that Fernández will also stop in Russia on his way for a meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Government sources said that the two leaders would discuss "collaboration on [Covid] vaccines, investments and collabortion on science and issues of common interest" during a 48-hour stopover in Moscow.



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