Wednesday, July 24, 2024

ARGENTINA | 08-12-2023 00:45

Zelenskyy headlines guestlist as foreign dignitaries fly in for Milei's inauguration

Javier Milei will be sworn-in as Argentina's new head of state on Sunday in a ceremony set to be attended by a host of regional and world leaders.

Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenskyy has announced he will attend tomorrow’s inauguration of Javier Milei as Argentina’s next president.

Details of the Ukrainian leader’s visit were still being finalised at press time, given the complex security protocols that need to be put in place. However, Zelenskyy's presence at the inauguration was confirmed by Ukraine's Embassy in Buenos Aires. 

The arrival of Zelenskyy on Argentine soil would be a major coup for Milei, underlining the nation’s new international alignment under his administration. It will be the Ukrainian president’s first trip to Latin America since Russia's invasion of his homeland and the outbreak of war.

Zelenskyy spoke with Milei and incoming foreign minister Diana Mondino after the libertarian won the November 19 presidential run-off. At the time he praised the president-elect’s “clear support for Ukraine,” saying it is “noted and appreciated.”

The La Libertad Avanza leader has vowed to shift Argentina’s foreign policy dramatically, including cooling relations with Russia. Milei has offered to host a summit between Ukraine and Latin American nations in Argentina, should Zelenskyy wish.

Other leaders

One of the first confirmations for Milei's inauguration came from Chilean President Gabriel Boric who – despite his ideological differences with the libertarian – has chosen to attend the inauguration in a show of good faith.

Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou, a more natural political ally, has also confirmed his attendance. Other South American leaders such as Daniel Noboa of Ecuador and Santiago Peña of Paraguay have also announced their participation.

The ceremony will be attended by several European leaders, including Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán and Armenian President Khachaturyan Vahagn. King Felipe VI of Spain and Santiago Abascal, the leader of the Spanish far-right party Vox (which has links to Milei), will also be present. UK Deputy Foreign Secretary David Rutley and Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen will represent their nations at the investiture.

US President Joe Biden will not attend due to prior commitments, but Washington is sending several officials. Its delegation will be led by Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm and also includes US Ambassador to Argentina Marc Stanley and Juan Gonzalez, National Security Council senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs.

Heading the list of notable absentees is Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has decided not to travel and to send his Foreign Minister Mauro Vieria in his stead.

Lula, who hosted regional leaders for a Mercosur summit in Rio de Janeiro last week, is reportedly offended by comments made by Milei on the campaign trail and efforts to heal the spat have been unsuccessful.

Former Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro will attend, likely accompanied by his son Eduardo Bolsonaro.

Other leaders who have not yet confirmed their attendance include Nayib Bukele of El Salvador, Giorgia Meloni of Italy, Emmanuel Macron of France, Narendra Modi of India, and Dina Boluarte Zegarra of Peru. 

Milei did invite billionaire Elon Musk to attend, but he declined the invitation.


– TIMES with agencies

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