US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulated President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (CFK) after her re-election and stressed on the importance of renewing their mutual commitment for a “strong and successful relationship.”
She also praised that president Barack Obama would be meeting with Cristina Fernández during the G20 Summit in Cannes. The two leaders are scheduled to meet this week following on a request from the US president. Cristina Fernandez is scheduled to leave on Tuesday for France.
According to a Sunday press release by the US State Department, Clinton called the Argentine president from Washington DC to talk to the President, who was in the Santa Cruz province.
“I know how important the relationship between the US and Argentina is and I’m happy that, by setting our past difficulties aside, we can begin a continuous dialogue, because it’s certainly important for us to renew our commitment to a strong and successful relationship,” Clinton said.
The Secretary of State also sent her regards over the first anniversary since the death of former President Néstor Kirchner.
The Argentine president is expected back in office Monday following a very special week: celebrating the landslide victory of Sunday 23 October with almost 54% of the vote and on the 27th opening the mausoleum dedicated to her later husband Nestor Kirchner on the first anniversary of his death.
The ceremony during which the remains of the former president were deposited in the mausoleum took place in the Rio Gallegos cemetery, Santa Cruz province, the hometown of the couple and from where they started their political campaign to reach the presidency of Argentina.
Cristina Fernandez spent the rest of the week resting with her family (Florencia and Maximo) in her home in Rio Gallegos and missed the Ibero-American and Unasur summits in Paraguay.
During her trip to Europe the Argentine president will also have to begin working up the new cabinet that will be taking office with her next December 10. She needs to name a new Economy minister since Amado Boudou is Vice-president elect; the Agriculture minister Julian Dominguez and the cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez were elected to Congress; the Health minister is the new deputy governor of the province of Tucuman.
There are insistent rumours that Foreign Affairs minister Hector Timerman will be replaced given the deterioration of relations with Washington and the fact that President Obama left Argentina out of his visit to the region at the beginning of the year, plus among other issues, the fact the US is voting against granting credits to Argentina in multilateral organizations. It is known CFK has a special admiration for Obama.
Among those who are seen as confirmed are Federal Planning minister Julio De Vito, a veteran of the Kirchners’ campaigns from Santa Cruz; Minister of Interior, Florencio Randazzo; Minister of Industry, Deborah Giorgi and Domestic Trade minister, the controversial Guillermo Moreno.
Three close aides working directly at Government House, Carloz Zannini, Oscar Parrilli (both legal counsellors); Intelligence chief Hector Icazurriaga and (sister in law) Alicia Kirchner are anticipated will remain as well as National Security minister Nilda Garré.
Among the most pressing and immediate issues to address are the current turbulence in the foreign exchange market imposing strict measures to purchase dollars, thus avoiding the sustained erosion of reserves and bilateral trade issues with Brazil , Argentina’s main partner together with China.