Wednesday, July 17, 2024

ARGENTINA | 14-06-2024 16:32

Milei at the G7: Laughter with Meloni, hugs for Pope, chat with Biden

President had a warm meeting with the Italian PM and short exchanges with Pope Francis and Joe Biden. Bilateral meeting with Emmanuel Macron and IMF head Kristalina Georgieva.

President Javier Milei enjoyed an eventful first day at the G7 summit close to the Italian city of Bari on Thursday as he crossed paths with some of the world’s most powerful leaders.

Milei, 53, has a packed schedule of activities that includes bilateral meetings with heads of states, multilateral bodies, informal gatherings and protocol events.

Arriving at the Borgo Egnazia resort, in the province of Brindisi, on Thursday, Argentina’s head of state was warmly greeted by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who is hosting the event.

Milei and Meloni embraced and shared a close exchange, during which the libertarian leader cracked a joke, whispering into her ear and leaving the Italian leader laughing and struggling to contain herself.

Minutes later, Milei crossed paths with his fellow Argentine, Pope Francis, another one of Meloni’s special guests. 

The Argentine pontiff had met with Buenos Aires Province Governor Axel Kicillof, one of Milei’s main opposition rivals, the previous day.

Milei briefly greeted the leader of the Catholic Church with a handshake and embrace while being watched closely by US President Joe Biden. 

Francis was the guest of honour Friday, Meloni meeting him at the door of his helicopter.

The pontiff asked how she was. "Still alive," she quipped, using the line he often uses to deflect questions about his fragile health.

"Well that makes two of us," the 87-year-old replied.

Biden and Milei also shared a few moments together talking, enjoying a brief informal chat.

Argentina’s leader then offered warm greetings to the head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, whom he will meet on the sidelines of the event for more in-depth talks.

Milei is being accompanied in Italy by a small delegation that does not include Diana Mondino, his foreign minister. It includes his sister, presidential chief-of-Staff Karina Milei, the head of his economic advisory council, Demian Reidel, Argentina’s Ambassador in the United States, Gerardo Werthein and national deputy Fernando Iglesias, among others.

According to government officials, Milei will hold talks with Italian PM Meloni, IMF chief Georgieva, France’s President Emmanuel Macron, and Ajay Banga, the head of the World Bank.

Argentina’s President is later scheduled to deliver a speech on artificial intelligence to world leaders and attend a dance and show, featuring renowned Italian singer Andrea Bocelli.

The G7 leaders were hosted at the luxury Borgo Egnazia resort, an artificial village on the coast in Puglia beloved of Madonna, and where Justin Timberlake had his wedding.




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