The Colorado senator Germán Coutinho, and the nationalist Jorge Gandini, went out this Wednesday to give a press conference to, according to them, “deny” the former presidential custodian, Alejandro Astesiano, who said it was he who coordinated the meeting between officials from the United Arab Emirates States and the Uruguayan president, Luis Lacalle Pou.
Lacalle and the head of the National Federal Council of the United Arab Emirates, Saqr Ghobash, met on September 15 at the Executive Tower, a meeting that was also attended by Coutinho and Gandini, as well as a delegation of other Arab officials.
According to what is extracted from the chats recovered from Astesiano’s phone, in the ongoing judicial investigations, he received a message on his WhatsApp sent by an official from the UAE embassy in Buenos Aires, who had already had contact with Lacalle and a Uruguayan delegation. at Expo Dubai.
“I have very important news. Next month the third most important person in the Government of the Emirates is going to visit Uruguay,” the Arab official wrote. “Perfect”, replied the former presidential bodyguard, according to the chats to which he accessed The Daily.
“The president of Parliament is going to lead a delegation […] he would like to have the honor of having a meeting with Mr. President. Can you help us get this request across?” added the Arab.
Astesiano replied: “Of course. I talk about it and I communicate it to him”. The Arab explained that they had “made a formal request via the Foreign Ministry”, but were unsuccessful. The official wrote again days later to find out if Astesiano had had “news.”
The meeting took place days later, as discussed in those chats.
But Coutinho and Gandini affirm that it was not Astesiano but the two of them who coordinated that meeting. Before the conference, the white legislator wrote on Twitter: “I personally scheduled the interview with the president. The title of The Daily is not true”.
Already in front of the journalists, he insisted that the information in the newspaper “is false, even in relation to what the media itself says in the article.”
“It is false, because that meeting was coordinated by us. We are going to demonstrate it, how and when; it is false because it is not shown in the chat either [entre el excustodio y el funcionario emiratí] that Mr. Astesiano did it ”, he snapped.
According to Gandini, together with Coutinho they established contacts at the Inter-Parliamentary Union (UIP) summit in Madrid with “two countries of strategic importance for Uruguay, the Kingdom of Morocco and the United Arab Emirates”, seeking to “reestablish trade relations with both countries , that Uruguay has them very, very small”.
These alleged efforts that they say they made led to a delegation led by the president of the Moroccan Parliament taking a delegation to Uruguay in July and, in September, “the president and several parliamentarians from the United Arab Emirates modified their travel plan to the region.”
“We offered the possibility of arriving, in between both trips, to Uruguay. For that, on August 15, I made contact with the President of the Republic and he opened his cell phone, entered his agenda and scheduled for 4:30 in the afternoon on Thursday, September 15, the meeting in his office, from protocol type, with the president [del Parlamento] and lawmakers from the United Arab Emirates,” Gandini said. “That’s the first fact,” he added.
“Knowing that, we confirmed with that Parliament that they modified their trip and came. On August 24, the Vice President of the Republic sent a formal invitation, ”she continued.