Ecuador’s Lasso starts visit to Argentina by placing floral wreath

Buenos Aires, Apr 18 (EFE).- Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso on Monday placed a floral wreath on the monument in Buenos Aires to Gen. Jose de San Martin, a tradition among world leaders who visit the Argentine capital, as part of his first visit to the South American country.

The Ecuadorian leader went to the monument with Argentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero, who on Sunday welcomed him with honors upon his arrival at the capital’s Jorge Newbery International Airport.

After the official tribute ceremony at the monument, Lasso headed to the Casa Rosada, the seat of the Argentine government, to hold a working meeting with his Argentine counterpart, Alberto Fernandez.

The two presidents concluded their meeting with the signing of several bilateral accords and a joint declaration before the media.

In his joint appearance with Fernandez after their meeting, Lasso proposed creating in Latin America a “great free trade zone” to be able to negotiate with other regions of the world in a “more powerful” manner.

At their meeting, the two leaders discussed the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which Argentina heads during 2022.

“We agreed regarding CELAC, which is a multilateral entity that can serve as a platform to rebuild that Latin American and Caribbean unity on which we are fully in agreement,” Lasso said.

The pair were scheduled to dine later at a luncheon in Lasso’s honor.

Lasso will also visit the headquarters of the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat and will participate in meetings with Argentine businessmen and investors within the framework of the Ecuador Open for Business program.

The Ecuadorian leader will continue his agenda with a trip to Uruguay on Tuesday.

One of the main objectives of Lasso’s meeting with Fernandez was to align their administrations’ stances on issues related to regional and hemispheric foreign policy, and they also discussed the next Summit of the Americas.

Other top administration officials from both governments were also scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss bilateral trade, investment, fishing, livestock production, communications and other matters.

This is the third visit by a Latin American leader to Argentina this month, with Chilean President Gabriel Boric and Bolivian leader Luis Arce having come to Buenos Aires in the past couple of weeks.

EFE jacb/rgm/rrt/bp

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