President Alberto Fernández on Thursday held a new bilateral meeting with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in which the attempted assassination of Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the situation in Venezuela, regional integration after the triumph of Luiz Inació Lula da Silva in Brazil and the impact of the war between Russia and the Ukraine were discussed.
Macron kicked off the exchange by expressing his regret over the attempted assassination of Argentina’s vice-president, to which Fernández replied: “We hope that justice advances and deepens its investigation,” insisting that such attacks respond to hate speech.
Macron and Fernández then highlighted Lula’s triumph in Brazil and how his future inauguration could boost regional integration, changing the logic of the Latin American continent, according to government sources.
Macron then expressed concern as to Argentina’s socio-economic situation, placing himself at his guest’s disposal to cooperate with the region. Fernández described the interest surcharges applied by international credit organisations as a problem not only for Argentina but also countries like Ukraine. Macron pledged himself to reviewing the issue.
The situation in Venezuela and the war in Ukraine were two central topics of the bilateral meeting. Macron agreed with President Fernández and Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador in rejecting a punitive approach, instead accompanying the democratic process to guarantee transparency.
This is not the first time that Fernández has warned against "turning Venezuela into a new Cuba" and expressed himself against economic blockades but this time he succeeded in bringing the French leader on board. Argentina’s Peronist leader said that he held daily dialogues on the issue with Jake Sullivan, the National Security Advisor of the Joe Biden administration.
Macron called on Venezuela's government and opposition to resume negotiations “as soon as possible.”
"Negotiations between the regime and the opposition must resume as soon as possible, starting with a humanitarian agreement and then – I hope – with political guarantees," Macron said in opening remarks to the press as he received Fernández at the Elysée Palace.
France is seeking to relaunch these negotiations and, with a view to achieving this goal, the Paris Peace Forum was due to host the chief negotiators from talks in Mexico yesterday, Jorge Rodríguez, for Chavismo, and Gerardo Blyde, for the opposition.
Prior to the bilateral meeting, both presidents chatted with the press, anticipating that the war between Ukraine and Russia would have a fundamental place in their exchanges.
"President Macron and I have a common outlook on world problems, not just the war, which is an issue worrying us and which obliges us to find solutions. The president listened to me when I told him that the war had a very negative impact on the Southern Hemisphere and the truth is that he has done a lot to make the G7 listen to our vision of the consequences of that war," reiterated Fernández, who was invited to participate in the Paris Peace Forum between yesterday and today.
After giving Fernández a big hug, Macron said: "We’ll be touching on many issues in the bilateral meeting and then we‘ll be working on the protection of children in the social media, an issue which concerns us greatly, and of course we’ll be meeting in the G20 next week to talk about he war in the Ukraine, the situation with Russia, climate change, the impact on poorer countries and the international rift."
He continued: "Tomorrow we will talk about peace and stability in the region, the situation in Venezuela, including the negotiations between the régime and the opposition in Mexico, which should be resumed as soon as possible, first with a humanitarian agreement and then [I hope] with political guarantees at the next meeting."
"In all these issues I know that we can count on your personal commitment and that of Argentina, particularly this year with the CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) presidency,” he said, turning to Fernández.
“We want to resolve this challenge with you, the issue of the construction of an order of geopolitical stability in the world to find peace as soon as possible on European soil and also to improve the energy and food situation affected by this war begun by Russia," he concluded while assuring that both leaders share "the same democratic values, the desire to accelerate the energy transition while protecting the Amazon in particular, as well as defending international law."