President Donald Trump and Argentinian leader Mauricio Macri held a “positive” meeting on Friday to discuss solutions to the ongoing political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela under the Maduro regime.
The two men met at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, where world leaders have descended to discuss international issues.
“It was a highly positive meeting, it is clear that Argentina has the backing of the government of the United States,” Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie told reporters in the Casa Rosada on Friday. “We talked in particular about what Venezuela means, the issue of the lack of democracy, the sustained continuity of the lack of democracy in Venezuela, and the migration crisis that it is causing.”
“We exchanged our thoughts on Venezuela, which are very similar, mainly that it is clear that there is no democracy in Venezuela and it is very difficult to manage with the countries of the region, and obviously with the United States,” he continued. “They recognize that having an intervention is one of many international scenarios, but is something that worries them.”
President of #Argentina Mauricio #Macri speaks to US President Donald #Trump as he holds his translation device before a meeting ahead of the Argentina #G20 Leaders' Summit 2018 #BuenosAires2018
📷: Ricardo Ceppi pic.twitter.com/CZjV01n50e
— Getty Images News (@GettyImagesNews) November 30, 2018
Macri is one of the many regional leaders who has agreed to support U.S. efforts in sanctioning the Maduro regime, who have previously accused him of “taking orders from the U.S.” even under the Obama administration. In his own statement, Trump spoke of how he had a close relationship with Macri through doing business together.
“I wanted to say that I’ve been friends with Mauricio for years, we know each other very well, and I actually did business with his family, with his father, who is an excellent friend of mine,” Trump said. “It was a very successful job, one of the great jobs we did in Manhattan, at the time when I was just a civilian, with him not knowing that his son would, one day, become president of Argentina, and I do not think you knew that I was going to become president of the United States.”
Macri thanked Trump for U.S. support during his country’s more “difficult moments,” as the country has experienced a serious economic crisis over the past year.
“We thank the United States for their support, especially in the past year, during these more difficult times,” he said, pointing to their cooperation on matters including “education, defense, and domestic security, and above all against organized crime and drug trafficking.” He added that investments from the U.S. have proved “the most important,” and expressed hope that they “carry on doing so.”
Relations between the two countries have improved significantly since Macri’s election in 2015 when he replaced left-wing leader Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, an integral part of the continent’s socialist bloc of leaders. According to the White House, Macri also shared Trump’s concerns about China’s predatory lending practices as Beijing seeks to expand its influence across Latin America.
“The two leaders reiterated their shared commitment to face regional challenges such as Venezuela and China’s predatory economic activity,” the White House said in a statement.