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Argentina’s Alberto Fernández meets with IMF director face-to-face for the first time

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Argentine president Alberto Fernández had a “very constructive meeting” in Rome on Friday, May 14, with the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Kristalina Georgieva, in the words of the latter, within the framework of his efforts to renegotiate Argentina’s debt.

It is the first time that the two have met face to face, although not much has yet been divulged as to the outcome of the meeting, except that they will continue to work “constructively” to reach a solution.

 Alberto Fernández meets with IMF director face-to-face for the first time
Buenos Aires Argentina. (Photo internet reproduction)

Georgieva, who will take part in a seminar organized by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences on the ethical, economic, and political challenges in this moment of crisis (in which she will again meet the Argentine Economy Minister Martin Guzman), traveled early in the morning to the Sofitel hotel, where the Argentine President is staying in Rome, for the meeting. “It was gratifying to finally meet the president in person,” she told the Argentine press on her departure.

The seminar in which Georgieva is participating, entitled “Dreaming a better restart,” will also be attended by German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schmidt, and Spanish Finance Minister Nadia Calviño, as well as Nobel Prize winner in economics, Joseph Stiglitz.

“Unpayable” debt

The renegotiation of Argentina’s debt, which amounts to some US$47 billion, has been the focus of the conversations held during the tour of Portugal, Spain, France and Italy, ending with this unscheduled meeting. Fernández has assured that the inherited debt is “unpayable” for Argentina.

On Thursday, Fernández was also welcomed by his countryman Pope Francis and updated him on the progress of the debt negotiations, as the president explained to journalists after the meeting. During his tour, the president has sought the support of Spain, France, and Portugal to renegotiate Argentina’s multi-billion dollar debt, which has been aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Argentina has been trying since last year to renegotiate debts of some US$45.2 billion with the IMF – on original loans of US$44.1 billion -, and could default on payments unless it is able to defer debt maturities of some US$2.4 billion with the Paris Club before the end of May.

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