President Alberto Fernández will fly off to Europe for a tour of capital cities this Friday, with stops planned in Spain, Portugal, France and Italy.
Notably, given the reports of increased tension between factions of his ruling Frente de Todos coalition, the Peronist leader will be accompanied on his trip by Economy Minister Martín Guzmán.
According to sources quoted by the Noticias Argentinas news agency, the president will depart at 11pm tomorrow night with Guzman and a host of other government officials in tow, including Foreign Minister Felipe Solá, Secretary of the Presidency Julio Vitobello and the Communications & Press Secretary Juan Pablo Biondi.
Fernández will meet with various European heads of state, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Italy's President Sergio Matarella and Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
A much-anticipated meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican has also been arranged. The visit has an “open agenda”, but the Argentine head of state will thank the pontiff for his role in Argentina’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), according to sources, while the coronavirus pandemic and vaccinations will also be discussed.
The president will add his voice to calls for the release of the patents for vaccines against Covid-19, having previously asserted that “vaccines have not been distributed in an equitable way”. Yesterday, US President Joe Biden showed his support for the initiative, a move praised by Fernández whose administration lags behind in vaccination figures.
At present Argentina has applied 8,533,232 vaccines, with just under 1.17 million people of the 45 million population having received both doses of the vaccine.
The Peronist leader will also visit King Felipe of Spain before returning to Argentina on Friday 14 May, according to government sources.
While it was first anticipated that the tour may be postponed or even cancelled due to the pandemic, the president finally confirmed last week that he would go on the trip, as well as visiting more locations than originally planned.
— TIMES / NA