Presidents Alberto Fernández of Argentina and Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva of Brazil met Monday morning at Casa Rosada in what is regarded as the relaunching of bilateral ties after the Jair Bolsonaro years.
Both leaders agreed on strengthening and enhancing Mercosur and signed a series of agreements marking the new status of the relationship between South America's two largest economies.
The meeting, which was also attended by Ministers Santiago Cafiero and Mauro Vieira (Foreign Affairs), and Sergio Massa and Fernando Haddad, (Economy) spanned for about one hour.
In a post-meeting press conference, Fernández described the encounter as wonderful. He also pointed out that from now on we will make a much deeper strategic link, which will last for decades, while admitting one of the topics had been strengthening and empowering Mercosur.
We have also talked about restarting Unasur, Fernández also pointed out. He also explained that the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) starting Monday in Buenos Aires will help favor the integration of the region.
Fernández also described Lula as a leader of the region and a great statesman, who started a political process in Brazil that lifted millions out of poverty.
The Argentine President also said he envisioned Lula leading the region now that another stage is beginning.
”We are linked by the same problems we had before, (Jair) Bolsonaro passed through Brazil and (Mauricio) Macri passed through Argentina, the challenges are similar, Fernández stressed.
The Argentine president also said that the first challenge was to consolidate democracy and institutions.
I want you to know, dear friend, that in Argentina we will always be by your side; I will not allow any delirious person, any fascist to take over popular sovereignty,” Fernández said looking at Lula.
Both leaders were to hold a meeting with over 300 businessmen from both countries at Casa Rosada's Bicentennial Museum later in the day.
However, Lula's meeting with his Venezuelan colleague Nicolás Maduro, scheduled for Monday no longer on the agenda in the morning, the Brazilian President's office confirmed, according to Agencia Brasil. The reasons for the change were not disclosed and it remains to be seen whether it is rescheduled at all.
Argentine opposition leaders want Maduro arrested by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency upon arriving in Buenos Aires, so his trip was yet to be confirmed.