In a new twist to the many that he already gave regarding his positions before becoming president, Javier Milei visited two Argentine military bases in Antarctica this Saturday and committed to “the preservation of the environment” to contribute to the common good of future countries. generations around the world.

“The exercise of science, cooperation and the preservation of the Antarctic environment are priority axes of our Antarctic foreign policy. Argentina is renewing its commitment to the international community, making its contribution to our common good and that of future generations” Milei said during his visits to the Marambio and Esperanza bases in the vast Antarctic territory that Argentina presents as its own on its official maps.

“Argentina will begin a new chapter in its long and distinguished history in Antarctic science. Through international cooperation agreements we seek to enhance our capabilities to be able to provide quality scientific information for decision-making within the framework of the Antarctic Treaty,” Milei added. , who made the surprise trip invited by the Argentine Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Milei was accompanied by the Chancellor, Diana Mondino, the Minister of Defense, Luis Petri, the Minister of the Interior, Guillermo Francos, and the Secretary General of the Presidency, Karina Milei. The president and his entourage spent Friday night in Río Gallegos, in the southern tip of Patagonia, before embarking on a three and a half hour flight this Saturday to Antarctica, where the country has 13 scientific research bases. .

Minutes before taking the flight, Mondino took a photo next to the Hercules plane, on whose front nose stands out an image of the Malvinas Islands, whose sovereignty Argentina claims from the United Kingdom.

In the years in which he became popular in explosive appearances on television shows and on social networks, Milei never showed affinity with the issue of climate change, which he even relativized from his well-known ultraliberal positions. “All those policies that blame humans for climate change are false,” Milei said in October 2023, on the occasion of the second presidential debate.

But Grossi, who spent the end of the year festivities in Buenos Aires, convinced the Argentine head of state to travel to Antarctica, something that the previous president, Alberto Fernández, had already done in February 2023, the first visit by a Argentine president in a quarter of a century.

Grossi, who is serving his second term as director general of the IAEA, is identified as one of the potential successors of the Portuguese António Guterres in the general secretariat of the United Nations (UN). Guterres recently visited Antarctica in the company of Chilean President Gabriel Boric.

The Nutec Plastics agreement in Antarctica is a cooperation agreement between Argentina and the IAEA. “Its objective is scientific cooperation in order to take samples, perform analyzes and generate knowledge and data about the presence of microplastics in Antarctica. The scientific activity is carried out by Argentina and in accordance with the Antarctic Treaty System.

The program focuses on the study of marine plastic pollution, and covers almost all the world’s seas, except the Antarctic. Thanks to the agreement with Argentina, the IAEA extended the program to the White Continent. Starting in January of this year, the studies will begin to be carried out at the Carlini Scientific Base and also in the laboratories of the Oceanographic Observatory that the Argentine Antarctic Institute and the National Antarctic Directorate have on board the Almirante Irizar Icebreaker.