Since the inauguration of Javier Milei, the bilateral relationship between Argentina and the United States seems to have entered a new stage, with multiple gestures and winks of clear rapprochement. Washington moved quickly to respond to what the libertarian repeated so much during the campaign: that the North American government would be his main ally.
In this context, an official visit ended last night with an intense and highly charged visit from Brian Nichols, the assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs of the State Department. In short, the person in charge of relations with the entire American continent in the US Foreign Ministry.
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“The relationship with Argentina is key and it is a strategic ally for the United States,” the North American diplomat said in very fluent Spanish during a press round in which TN participated along with other media. “I notice that there is a lot of interest in the Argentine government in collaborating on human rights, commitment to climate change, combating transnational crime and cooperating in the UN and OAS,” he added.
Brian Nichols is the main official for the United States' link with the American continent within the State Department. (Photo: US Embassy)
Nichols is a highly relevant official for the White House's relationship with the region and his presence is a gesture from Washington towards Argentina. His trip, although he avoided giving details when asked about it, could be the preview of a high-level visit by the American Secretary of State himself, Antony Blinken. “It would be something important,” he stated, simply, with a knowing smile.
The position of the United States regarding the Milei reforms
“Milei's reform process is key for the future, Argentina cannot continue with a decade without economic growth and hyperinflation,” said President Joe Biden's envoy when asked about the Argentine president's economic and political proposals.
In what was clearly read as support for Milei's measures, Nichols emphasized that “a change of era is necessary in Argentina, a change to not have to resort to the IMF and other bodies.” Well informed about the debate on the Omnibus Law, he made it clear that these types of reforms “have to be in a democratic process, where it has to go through Congress.”
The North American official visited the Casa Rosada, although he did not get to see Milei due to the trip to Israel. (Photo: US Embassy)
While he avoided giving a definition about the dollarization process that the Argentine president himself put back on the table two weeks ago by hiding behind the fact that “it is a sovereign decision,” Nichols did make it very clear that the White House will collaborate with Argentina on the board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“Reaching an agreement with the IMF is something beneficial for Argentines, something key, and we try to be useful in that process,” said the North American diplomat during the meeting that took place at the residence of the ambassador to Argentina, Marc Stanley. .
An agenda marked by security and defense cooperation
The senior official of the North American State Department maintained an intense agenda during his three-day visit to Argentina. He met with five ministers: Luis Caputo (Economy), Diana Mondino (Chancellor), Patricia Bullrich (Security), Luis Petri (Defense) and Mariano Cúneo Libarona (Justice).
There were intentions for Javier Milei to receive him at Casa Rosada, but the trip to Israel made this appointment impossible. It was then Mondino who, minutes before leaving for Ezeiza to embark for Rome, held a meeting at the Government House with a tour of the balcony that overlooks the Plaza de Mayo included.
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In addition, Nichols met with representatives of the CGT and human rights organizations such as Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo and the CELS at Stanley's residence, who was in charge of coordinating the agenda of the visit. He also made time to visit the building of the Argentine Council for International Relations (CARI), where he was received by authorities of the prestigious think tank.
Without confirming the sale of the 24 F-16 fighter planes, of North American production and in the hands of the Danish Air Force, Nichols ratified Argentina's status as the “largest non-NATO ally” (strategic allied country outside NATO). explaining that Milei and Biden “share the vision of a close relationship in defense matters, with official visits, joint exercises and support to modernize the Armed Forces (FFAA).”
In addition to officials, Nichols met with CARI directors, human rights organizations and CGT union members. (Photo: US Embassy)
At the same time, and after Milei reconfirmed his intention to move the Argentine embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in Israel and the subsequent repudiation of Hamas, the North American envoy assured: “We work together to confront any attack by terrorist groups.” . The United States did include Hamas as one of them, Argentina is expected to do the same in the short term.
Nichols also warned that “there are other groups beyond Hamas that need to be followed closely.”
Finally, he also issued a warning about the presence of Iran, Russia and China in Latin America: “It is something that the governments of the region should evaluate whether it is convenient or not. “We share values that there are worrying actors in the region and we will continue to act in favor of the values and solidarity of our people.”