President Alberto Fernández arrived in Mexico City on Monday for an official visit, during which he will meet with his Mexican counterpart Andrés Manuel López Obrador for talks over the co-production of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine.
Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard was on hand to welcome President Fernández and his entourage as they arrived at Mexico City airport.
Government sources said that “for sanitary reasons” the president had travelled on a private charter flight, rather than take a normal plane. He was accompanied by First Lady Fabiola Yañez; Secretary General to the Presidency Julio Vitobello and the Communications and Press Secretary Juan Pablo Biondi.
Foreign Minister Felipe Solá; Economy Minister Martín Guzmán, Deputy Cabinet Chief Cecilia Todesca, Secretary for Strategic Affairs Gustavo Beliz and presidential advisor Ricardo Forster also made the trip, which has the stated aim of “strengthening commercial ties” between the two countries.
Two government-aligned lawmakers who were also set to travel with the president, Senator Jorge Taiana and Deputy Eduardo Valdés, were taken off the flight list after it emerged that they had been vaccinated ahead of schedule in the so-called 'VIP vaccination' scandal that broke over the weekend.
“I want to welcome the President of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, who arrived very early today,” said López Obrador at the beginning of his morning press conference, confirming the Argentine leader's arrival.
López Obrador’s will host an official welcome on Tuesday. Afterwards, the Peronist leader will attend López Obrador’s morning conference, then join him in a working breakfast.
Fernández has a packed schedule, which started Monday morning with a meeting in the Hotel InterContinental Presidente with Mexican businessmen who have investments in Argentina.
The president will then visit the Liomont laboratory where the Anglo-Swedish AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine is being produced, in co-production with Argentina, touring various rooms including the refrigeration chambers holding the shot's main active ingredient, which was sent to Mexico in January by the local laboratory mAbxience .
Mexico and Argentina plan to co-produce around 200 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab to meet the demand in Latin America.
On Tuesday after his official welcome, Fernández will meet with Carlos Slim — the billionaire Mexican telecommunications tycoon who has provided resources for the production of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Later that evening, he will attend a meeting at the Argentine Embassy with a host of "intellectuals and cultural leaders."
The following day, Fernández will go to the state of Guerrero for a ceremony commemorating 200 years of Mexican independence, where he will be in attendance as the special guest of López Obrador.
“Having been invited by his Mexican counterpart, Fernández will be one of the speakers at the ceremony, which will take place at the Cerro del Tehuehue” in Iguala, the Presidency confirmed in a statement.