Argentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero flew to Paraguay Friday on his first official visit to the neighboring country. It was the first trip by any top Argentine diplomat in five years.
Cafiero's entourage included business people from some 30 Argentine companies.
The Foreign Minister is to meet with his Paraguayan counterpart, Euclides Acevedo Candia, within the framework of the Political and Integration Commission (Great Commission) stemming from talks dating back to 2021.
Foreign Ministry's Secretary of International Economic Relations Cecilia Todesca had arrived in Asunción a day earlier to make last-minute arrangements.
Ties between Paraguay and Argentina are going through shadowy times because of ideological differences between Presidents Mario Abdo Benitez and Alberto Fernández.
In addition to that, there is the killing of two Argentine girls -Lilian Mariana Villalba and Maria Carmen Villalba- allegedly at the hands of the Paraguayan Army in a confrontation with guerrillas.
Cafiero's predecessor Felipe Solá had engaged in a heated argument with Paraguayan diplomats over the issue, which made things worse.
But Cafiero has welcomed Acevedo in Buenos Aires and the relationship was rechanneled, which makes a meeting with Abdo Benitez possible.
Argentina-Paraguay bilateral trade in 2021 reached almost U$S 3,000 million. There was a 47.5% growth compared to 2020 for Argentine exports, which is the highest value in the last 7 years, and a 31.4% increase compared to the previous year for imports from Paraguay, which is also the highest value in the last 7 years.
In 2021, Argentina ranked as the second most important destination for Paraguay's exports, accounting for just over a quarter of Paraguay's external sales. In turn, in terms of the countries of origin of Paraguayan imports, Argentina ranks third in importance.
Cafiero's week included presidential visits by Chile's Gabriel Boric Font and Bolivia's Luis Arce Catacora to the Argentine capital.
Paraguay currently holds the Pro Tempore Presidency of Mercosur.
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