Argentine President Alberto Fernández and his American counterpart, Joe Biden, held their first bilateral meeting today at the White House.
“Argentina is going through the worst drought on record since 1929, which has very much complicated our economy, and we’re discussing this situation with financial institutions,” said Fernández, in a brief joint press statement before the meeting started. “So we certainly look forward to your continued support”.
Just hours before, Economy Minister Sergio Massa met with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s First Deputy Managing Director Gita Gopinath in Washington D.C. and discussed the impacts of the drought on the country’s economy. Argentina has been negotiating with the IMF to relax the country’s international reserve accumulation goals and the United States has the IMF’s highest voting power in the lender’s board.
Both leaders marked the 200th anniversary of Argentina and the United States’ bilateral relations. Biden said he hopes to increase both countries’ “economic interchange,” particularly that of clean energy, minerals, and security technologies.
“Together we are working to protect human rights and to guarantee that democracy benefits citizens of both countries,” said Biden.
The American president thanked Fernández for condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Fernández said has deepened the world’s and Argentina’s economic problems.
“More than once we had an opportunity to talk about the economic problems that Argentina is facing, and which I inherited as president,” Fernández said. “The international context is not helping.”
Finally, Fernández conveyed his “solidarity and sympathy to the families” of the victims of the Nashville school shooting, which took place yesterday and claimed six lives.
“I would like to publicly state my support for your initiative to regulate the sale of firearms in the US,” said Fernández, and mentioned that some Argentine politicians defend the right to freely acquire firearms without regulation.
On behalf of Argentina, Massa and Security Minister Aníbal Fernández accompanied the President to the White House as well as Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero. Also present were Presidential Spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti, the President’s General Secretary Jorge Vitobello, the Argentine Ambassador to the US Jorge Argüello, and representatives from the Foreign Ministry, including Minister Santiago Cafiero.
Biden was joined by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols, Special Assistant Juan González, U.S. Ambassador in Argentina Marc Stanley and Lorenzo Harris, Director for Brazil and the Southern Cone at the National Security Council.
Fernández left Argentina on March 24 to start a week-long tour, starting with the Ibero-American Summit in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He then made a two-day stop in New York City, where he held a meeting with over 30 investors, banking managers, and businesspeople at the Council of the Americas on Monday night.
After the meeting, Fernández went to the Argentine embassy in Washington and will offer a press conference afterward.