President Alberto Fernández arrived in the United States on Sunday ahead of his meeting with Joe Biden. The president of the United States will receive Argentina’s leader on Wednesday, March 29, for a 90-minute meeting in which the topics and format are being finalised.
The meeting was initially scheduled to take place eight months ago, but was postponed after Biden tested positive for Covid-19. "We didn't go to knock on his door," briefs the Argentine delegation following the confirmation of a meeting that the US president could have avoided due to the fact that it is an election year.
Why did the invitation finally arrive? The head of state's entourage believes it to be because "Argentina is a pillar of stability in the region and the gesture has to do with that, with supporting this" approach. They also recognise that "Argentina played well with this administration – when it was necessary to criticise Donald Trump, it happened."
This happened again, just this weekend. In a gesture to Biden, just a few days before the meeting, Fernández dedicated a line of his seven-minute speech to the Ibero-American Summit in the Dominican Republic to this very subject.
"Our America, in the years in which Donald Trump ruled the United States, suffered a tremendous process of regional disintegration. UNASUR faded away as its members disassociated themselves from the mandates imposed by that Republican government. Even the OAS was at the service of that disintegrating objective by validating a coup d'état in Bolivia,” declared Argentina’s president.
As for Wednesday’s meeting, Fernández’s entourage says there is an “open agenda.” He will highlight the drought that has ravaged Argentina and its impact on the country's dollar income, due to the fall in exports from the harvest. He will speak to the US president knowing the "influential" position that Washington has at the International Monetary Fund.
According to the White House, “the leaders will celebrate 200 years of bilateral relations between the United States and Argentina and reiterate the strength of the US-Argentina partnership.”
The will also “discuss how the United States and Argentina can continue to partner to address global challenges and continue to make progress on areas of mutual national interest, including critical minerals, climate change, space, and technology,” continued a statement confirming Wednesday's bilateral.
“They will also discuss economic cooperation, as well as their shared values of inclusion, democracy, and the protection of human rights,” it concluded.
The format of the meeting will be one-on-one. This means that Fernández will arrive at the Oval Room to meet with Biden alone. Later, both will deliver a joint statement to the press and a third step will be formal greetings to the delegation. This last point raises expectations as to the role that Economy Minister Sergio Massa will play in the visit.
Massa will travel to Washington on Tuesday to join the delegation. He hopes not only to be able to shake hands with Biden, but also to have an exchange with him and other US economic officials. This will depend on how many minutes the presidents have taken up beforehand and on Biden's predisposition. If Fernández and the host occupy most of the 90 minutes alone, there will be almost no time for Massa to be presented.
This latest stage of bilateral relationship will have a second chapter in Argentina. United States Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman arrives this week and will meet Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero to advance the agenda outlined on Wednesday.
While in New York, President Fernández will visit an exhibition by Marta Minujín at MoMA modern art museum on Monday and have dinner with around 30 investors from the Council of the Americas, an event chaired by Susan Segal. On Tuesday, he will leave with his entourage for Washington, accompanied by Secretary General to the Presidency, Julio Vitobello; Foreign Minister, Santiago Cafiero and Presidential Spokesperson, Gabriel Cerruti. First Lady Fabiola Yañez is also travelling.