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What the White House says and what is expected in Washington about the announced meeting between Alberto Fernández and Joe Biden

2023-03-23T23:59:02.607Z


The possible meeting of the Argentine with Biden, next week, came to light in Buenos Aires, but it has not yet been officially confirmed. The expectations of the experts.


The White House

did not confirm "for the moment"

a visit by President Alberto Fernández to Washington to meet with his American counterpart Joe Biden next week and for now the information that came out and is taken for granted in Buenos Aires has not been officially endorsed.

But experts in the US capital believe that

"better late than never",

although they see "it is unlikely that Argentina can today contribute to the responses to certain global and regional challenges" that interest the US.

The Biden-Fernández bilateral has had many comings and goings.

Since the beginning of his administration, the ambassador in Washington Jorge Argüello has been struggling to make it happen and has had some setbacks at the beginning when the bilateral relationship became tense when the Argentine president toured Russia and China and said that Argentina would be the door of entry from Moscow to the region.

It was finally announced for July of last year and days before it came to fruition, Biden caught covid and was postponed twice for that matter.

Then came the US elections in November and Fernández's loss of power seemed to put the appointment on hold.

However,

from Buenos Aires they let it be known this Thursday that it would take place very soon, on March 29,

although in Washington there is much more caution.

When asked by

Clarín

about the existence of a Biden-Fernández meeting next week, the White House indicated that

"we have nothing to confirm at this time."

They didn't rule it out either.

But President Biden is on a trip to Canada and returns tomorrow, Friday, so it is possible that the confirmation will take place over the weekend, said Argentine sources linked to the organization of the meeting.

There are no details of Fernández's possible agenda in the United States.

It could even arrive a couple of days before the 29th,

directly after the Ibero-American Summit in the Dominican Republic.

And also go through New York to meet with businessmen and different leaders linked to Argentina.

Experts in the bilateral relationship in Washington consulted by

Clarín

pointed out various aspects regarding the possible visit and the expectations on the issues to be discussed.

Benajmin Gedan,

director of Latin America at the Wilson Center and head of the Argentina Project, stated that “Biden had offered the meeting despite Fernández's visit to Moscow and the aggressive speech of the Argentine president at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.

Clearly the White House does not want to walk away from the Pink House."

However, Gedan warned that, beyond the fact that the summit materializes, he sees

"it is unlikely that Argentina today can contribute to the responses to certain global and regional challenges", such as

food and energy insecurity in the world, the democratic setback in the region and the war in Ukraine that Biden raises.

“Their economic policies limit the capacity of their agricultural and energy sectors;

tensions between the government and the judiciary militate against his credibility as a defender of democracy and his stance toward the Russian invasion has not been forceful,” he said.

Despite this, he added,

"the United States always keeps its doors open to a friendly relationship with Argentina."

Michael Shifter,

a senior fellow at the InterAmerican Dialogue and an expert on the bilateral relationship, said:

“I confess that I was skeptical

that the meeting between the two leaders would ever take place after the cancellation last year, given the very difficult circumstances in Argentina and the political weakness of President Fernández”.

He added that, if the summit does take place, "it would be due in part to the skill and perseverance of Ambassador Jorge Argüello, who has excellent relations with senior officials of the Biden administration."

Shifter further noted that the meeting would coincide with the Democracy Summit, which is being hosted virtually by the United States, along with the governments of Costa Rica, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Zambia on March 29 and 30.

And it would be expected that Biden would also have other meetings in that framework.

However, official Argentine sources indicated that

the meeting has nothing to do with this summit

(in which Fernández already recorded a video on the subject like the rest of the leaders), but rather that it is actually the completion of the one postponed since last year. .

Regarding the different interests to be discussed in the possible meeting, Shifter pointed out that “despite the political differences between the two governments, it seems to me that Biden recognizes the importance and weight of Argentina on the continent.

For him, it will be an opportunity to share concerns about China's role in the region and also encourage greater concern about the political crises in Nicaragua and Venezuela."

“In addition, Biden could acknowledge Argentina's recent vote at the UN on Ukraine and seek further engagement with US and European policy on such a crucial issue.

Biden may also be interested in proposing an alliance with Fernández to attack climate change, which fits with what Biden discussed with President Lula da Silva during his recent visit to Washington, ”he added.

“For Fernández, on the other hand, the benefits are more obvious.

It is an opportunity to try to show that he has the leadership of Argentina and project a presidential image in Washington.

I also imagine that he would take advantage of the visit to talk about Argentina's policy regarding the IMF,” he said.

Ge Zhang,

senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Adrienne Arsht Center for Latin America

,

highlighted the economic interest that the visit may have, especially on the energy issue.

"

Better late than never,"

she said.

And that this interest "is not surprising, in the sense that the growth and productive potential of Vaca Muerta constitutes

a timely and strategic opportunity

for Argentina in this economic situation, and for energy security in the Americas in general, regardless of the results of the elections in October.

The expert added that “the success of Vaca Muerta depends on higher levels of investment, rapprochement and international cooperation.

That is what may have given the necessary impetus to carry out the Biden-Fernández bilateral meeting that was so much expected.

Source: clarin

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