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Argentina's president-elect tells top Biden officials that he's committed to freedom

Argentina's President-elect Javier Milei walks down the steps of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus after a meeting with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Argentina's President-elect Javier Milei walks down the steps of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus after a meeting with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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WASHINGTON -

Argentina's President-elect Javier Milei met Tuesday with senior Biden administration officials at the White House in his first international trip since winning a presidential runoff earlier this month.

The right-wing Milei had a "positive meeting" with White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, the president-elect's office said in a statement. The visit by Argentina's incoming leader occurred while President Joe Biden was away from Washington at a memorial for former first lady Rosalynn Carter in Georgia and then traveling to Colorado.

The statement from Milei's office said he had expressed "his views on the international geopolitical agenda aligned with the West and his commitment to the values of freedom." It added that Sullivan, speaking on behalf of the administration, "conveyed the willingness of the United States to cooperate in the transition of the incoming Argentine government, given the challenging political, economic and social circumstances that the country is facing."

The White House issued a statement saying that Sullivan and Milei discussed economic issues and "shared priorities such as investing in technology and clean energy, advocating for human rights, and standing up for democracies around the world."

Also attending the meeting on behalf of the Biden administration were Juan Gonzalez, the National Security Council's senior director for the Western hemisphere, Brian Nichols, U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, and U.S. Ambassador to Argentina Marc Stanley, according to the statement by Milei's office.

Milei made other stops in Washington. On Tuesday, he posted on Instagram a picture of himself and aides at the Lincoln Memorial.

Milei, a libertarian, resoundingly won a Nov. 19 presidential runoff election. He is an economist who admires former U.S. President Donald Trump, and he has called for deep cuts in spending as a way to reduce Argentina's red-hot inflation that is currently running at an annual rate of 143%. He also wants to replace Argentina's peso with the U.S. dollar as the national currency.

Milei takes office Dec. 10.

Luis Caputo, a former finance minister who is being talked about as possible economy minister in the incoming administration, and Nicolas Posse, a close ally of Milei who is seen as likely Cabinet chief, also had a sit-down with officials at the International Monetary Fund. Milei's aides also met with U.S. Treasury Department officials.

The IMF said in a statement that Milei's aides "discussed the country's complex challenges and plans for urgently strengthening stability and setting the basis for more sustainable growth."

The IMF has a loan program providing US$44 billion to Argentina to help improve its governance and economic growth.

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AP writer Paul Wiseman contributed to this report. Politi reported from Buenos Aires.

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