President Mauricio Macri is meeting with his American counterpart, Donald Trump, in what is their first encounter since they both became heads of state. In a brief address to the press before kicking off their agenda — which includes a private meeting and a work lunch — Trump highlighted the fact that they have known each other for 25 years and called Macri a “great leader.”
“We’ve known each other for many, many years. 25 years. We’ve known each other before entering politics, and who could have thought that this would happen for the both of us. I know Mauricio very well, he’s a great person and a great leader,” Trump said.
The American president went on to say that both countries will be “better friends than ever. I feel comfortable supporting Mauricio, because I know who I am supporting and Mauricio is a person who loves his country,”
Trump ended by highlighting the current priorities of both countries saying “I will talk to him about North Korea, and he will talk to me about lemons.” He was making reference to Macri’s aim to get the United States to go back to importing Argentine lemons. His administration had already accomplished this goal when former U.S. president Barack Obama was in office, but the incumbent Trump administration suspended all deals of the kind that hadn’t been confirmed when stepping up, the Argentine lemons one included.
Both heads of state held a private meeting in the Oval Office and then shared a work lunch along with numerous members of their respective cabinets to discuss the issues included in the agenda.
The Argentine delegation is comprised of: Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña; Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra; Energy Minister Juan José Aranguren; Secretary of Strategic Affairs Fulvio Pompeo and the Argentine Embassy to the U.S’s trade attache, Sergio Pérez Gunella.
The American group is made up of, among others, of Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Trade Wilbur Ross and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
According to press reports, both delegations committed to working together on the following issues: promoting agricultural and business ventures; fighting drug-trafficking, money laundering, corruption and other unlawful financial activities. Moreover, they highlighted their “strong concern” about the crisis Venezuela is currently going through and agreed to “work closely” to preserve the country’s democratic institutions.
In a press release issued by the Casa Rosada, Cabinet Chief Peña said that the relationship between Macri and Trump “couldn’t be better” and reaffirmed that the visit aims at “strengthening trust, ties and the bilateral cooperation between both countries.”
“Trump always speaks very fondly of Macri. His is a country that has a lot in common with Argentina, with a similar constitution, a shared story of immigrants. But we have also had a lot of clashes. When Macri took office, the bilateral relationship was at one of the worse periods in its history,” he finished.