Argentine President Alberto Fernández Thursday met with his Italian counterpart, Sergio Mattarella, with Prime Minister Mario Draghi and with Pope Francis in another stop of his one-week European tour.
Mattarella had lunch with Fernández at the Quirinale Palace. Also present were Foreign Minister Felipe Solá; Economy Minister Martín Guzmán; and Argentina's Ambassador to Rome Roberto Carlés.
Among the main items discussed were the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the importance of strengthening the bilateral relationship.
Then Fernández met with Draghi at the Chigi Palace where Secretary for Strategic Affairs Gustavo Béliz was also present.
Fernández and Béliz later held an encounter with, World Bank Managing Director of Operations Axel van Trotsenburg, who was in Rome to attend the seminar to be held at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
Fernández also held a private conversation with the Pope in the Library Room of the Apostolic Palace, which lasted about 25 minutes during which both heads of state exchanged the usual symbolic gifts as they discussed the situation in the Pope's native Argentina, with particular reference to the covid-19 pandemic emergency, the economic crisis and the fight against poverty.
A private meeting between Fernández and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Director Kristalina Georgieva has also been arranged for Friday. The Bulgarian Georgieva is also in Rome due to the Economy seminar at the Vatican.
It will be the first face-to-face meeting between her and Fernández, who needs to negotiate a burdening debt inherited from the previous administration of President Mauricio Macri and in a scenario that has been severely affected by the covid crisis.
It was a pleasure to meet again with Alberto Fernández to talk about the joint work of the World Bank and Argentina and the challenges to overcome the Covid pandemic, tweeted van Trotsenburg.
The WB official added that his bank and Argentina are working on an investment program of US $ 2 billion for this year, aimed at promoting infrastructure works, health, employment and other items.
The World Bank has already approved a US $ 347 million disbursements to improve the service and infrastructure of the Mitre railway line, which serves more than 7 million passengers every year. This project promoted by the World Bank will finance the expansion and renovation of the Retiro Station in Buenos Aires.