Argentine president Cristina Fernandez left on Thursday evening for Rome where on Saturday she is scheduled to have lunch with Pope Francis in a meeting that according to Vatican sources has no formal timetable.
The president was invited to meet the Pope when he became aware Cristina Fernandez would be travelling to Rome, and thus the invitation, in a hand written letter, to have lunch in Santa Marta, where the head of the Catholic church resides.
From Rome the Argentine delegation flies to New York where the Argentine leader will address the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council of which Argentina is a non permanent member.
According to Vatican sources Pope Francis is concerned about the political situation and governance in his native Argentina, and thus his interest in addressing some of the issues in the agenda leading to the 2015 presidential election.
The pope is worried about governance, about a healthy democracy, said Guillermo Karcher, one of the pope's closest associates, who gave a background of the Saturday meeting to the Argentine media.
He's Argentine, he's lived what we've all lived in our country's recent history. And it seems to me that it's urgent to keep an eye on this democratic process, because it's good for all of us, added Karcher.
Some union leaders have predicted that the country was on the brink of exploding into social unrest, and they even advanced a date, next December.
Discontent has been mounting in Argentina over an economic recession, annual inflation of more than 30% percent and growing pressure to devalue the peso for the second time this year.
It will be a tete-a-tete, a private meeting, said Karcher, who is also Argentine and worked with the pope when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires.
Karcher said all topics would be up for discussion, including Argentina's 1.3 billion debt dispute with two US hedge funds, which saw the country enter default in July for the second time in 13 years.
Saturday’s will be the third time the pontiff and Ms. Kirchner meet following the appointment of ex Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics last year. The first time was in March 2013, a day before the Pope took office; the second in July 2013 and the last in March this year.
The delegation flying with the president includes Foreign minister Hector Timerman; secretary general of the Executive Office Oscar Parrilli; head of the Executive Legal and Technical Secretariat Carlos Zannini and Communications officer Alfredo Scoccimarro.
Other invited guests are the president of the Lower House, Julian Dominguez; Senator Anibal Fernandez; Deputy governor of Buenos Aires province Gabriel Mariotto and lawmakers Eduardo de Pedro and Andres Larroque, plus mayors from metropolitan Buenos Aires.