Netanyahu Congratulates Argentine President-elect Macri

Prime minister says he hopes ties between two countries to strengthen, invites Mauricio Macri to visit Israel.

Argentina's president-elect Mauricio Macri gives a news conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 23, 2015.
Reuters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned Argentine president-elect Mauricio Macri on Wednesday evening and congratulated him on his election.

Netanyahu told Macri that he expects relations between Israel and Argentina to strengthen, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement. Macri said that he sees Argentina's attitude toward Israel now "changing for the better" and that he expects the cooperation between the two countries to expand.

Netanyahu also invited Macri to visit Israel, the statement said.

Also on Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama congratulated Macri in a phone call, the White House said in a statement. 

"The President emphasized the longstanding partnership between the United States and Argentina and conveyed his commitment to deepen cooperation on multilateral issues, improve commercial ties, and expand opportunities in the energy sector," the statement said. 

Argentines may be facing a difficult transfer of power, with Macri expressing disappointment after a transition meeting with outgoing President Cristina Fernandez.

After a meeting late Tuesday at the presidential residence, Macri said Fernandez was cordial but the talk "wasn't worth it."

He said they only went over protocol for the December 10 inauguration ceremony. There was no mention of outgoing ministers or their replacements.

Macri said he will tackle Argentina's economic woes, including plunging foreign reserves, high government spending and soaring inflation.

He has also vowed to lift unpopular restrictions on buying U.S. dollars to eliminate a black market of foreign currencies that creates distortions in the economy.