President Mauricio Macri welcomes US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Olivos today. (Photo via Argentine Presidency)

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson concluded the Argentine leg of his Latin American trip with a 40 minute meeting with President Mauricio Macri that touched on the G20, the bilateral relationship and Venezuela.

Tillerson met with Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie and members of the Cabinet yesterday, with Washington and Buenos Aires seeing eye to eye on increasing pressure on Venezuela. 

According to a statement released by the Argentine presidency, Macri and Tillerson addressed issues of mutual interest such as bilateral economic and trade matters as well as “the regional political situation and the agenda that will be carried out by the G20 during the Argentine chair.

“Macri and Tillerson agreed that this will be an important year for the Americas given the responsibility that the regional has with Canada and Argentina in charge of the G7 and G20 respectively.” The Summit of the Americas in April in Peru will also bring regional leaders together under the umbrella of the Organization of American States (OAS).

The statement added that US President Donald Trump had sent Macri a warm greeting.

Bilateral trade, the G20 and Venezuela were on the agenda. (Photo via Argentine Presidency)
Bilateral trade, the G20 and Venezuela were on the agenda. (Photo via Argentine Presidency)

Although the official statement did not make explicit references to Venezuela, Télam cited government sources who said that Macri and Tillerson exchanged analyses of the situation Venezuela, as both governments are sharply critical of the Nicolás Maduro administration.

In a press release published after Tillerson embarked on his trip, the Venezuelan Foreign Minsitry responded to the the secretary of state for earlier comments about possible Venezuelan military intervention in Venezuela and said that the “senseless actions against Venezuela show once again that Donald Trump’s administration has become the biggest factor of violence, discrimination and humiliation in the world.

“Clearly, the main objective of the Latin American and Caribbean tour of Rex Tillerson is to increase pressures on the governments of the region to join the perverse plan of aggressions against Venezuela.”

La Nación has reported that the Macri advocated for increased access to the US market (biodiesel is a worry for Buenos Aires) whereas Trump’s secretary of state called for increased access to the Argentine market for US pork exports.

The meeting was held at the Olivos presidential residence and was also attended by the Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña, Foreign Minister Faurie, the Argentine Ambassador to the United States Fernando Oris de Roa, the Undersecretary for Global Affairs Paola Di Chiaro and US Chargé d’Affaires Thomas Cooney.

Tillerson travels to Peru next.