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  • The United States will co-host the second Summit for Democracy on March 29-30 with leaders from Costa Rica, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, and the Republic of Zambia.

    In this on-the-record briefing, Senior Director Berschinski previews the upcoming Summit which aims to strengthen democratic institutions, tackle corruption, and defend human rights


MODERATOR:  Well, good morning, everyone, and welcome to the Washington Foreign Press Center’s briefing on the 2023 Summit for Democracy.  My name is Doris Robinson and I am the briefing moderator.  As a reminder, this briefing is on the record, and we will post the transcript later today on our website at

Our distinguished briefer today is NSC Senior Director for Democracy and Human Rights Rob Berschinski.  He will start with some opening remarks and then we will take your questions.  Over to you.

MR BERSCHINSKI:  Thanks, Doris.  It’s a pleasure to be back at the Foreign Press Center to discuss the second Summit for Democracy, which President Biden and the leaders of Costa Rica, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, and the Republic of Zambia will co-host next week.

It’s been just over three months since I was last here to discuss the summit, and in the meantime a lot of work has gotten done, so allow me to start with a bit of a laydown.  First, I want to reiterate the reasons why we’re doing this.  As President Biden has said, we’re currently at an inflection point when it comes to the future of democracy, both within the United States and around the world.  The defining question of this age is whether democracies will continue to deliver for their people in a rapidly changing world.

The United States launched the Summit for Democracy process in early 2021 to put new and high-level focus on the need to strengthen democratic institutions, protect human rights, and accelerate the fight against corruption both at home and abroad.  In the 15 months since we held the first Summit for Democracy in December of 2021, the world has witnessed profound change, emerging from a global pandemic and responding decisively as Russia brutally invaded its neighbor Ukraine in violation of the UN Charter.  The events of 2022 put in stark relief what we already knew – that democratic government grounded in the rule of law and the will of the governed remains, for all its messiness and challenges, the best tool humanity has to unleash human potential, maintain international peace and security, grow prosperity, and uphold human dignity.

So given that context, the second Summit for Democracy will gather leaders from around the world to again shine a spotlight on the need to strengthen democratic resilience and the protection of human rights as a fundamental imperative of our time.  It will once again highlight how democracies deliver for their citizens and are best equipped to address the world’s most pressing challenges.

Now, as of last night, an agenda for the summit went live on the State Department’s Summit for Democracy website.  That’s at  So I’d refer you to that webpage for additional details, including on the event’s many themes, speakers, and timing.  But let me just say a few brief words on the run of show.

The formal summit runs from next Wednesday, March 29th, to Thursday, March 30th, and will be preceded by a day of high-level thematic events on Tuesday, March 28th, hosted by members of President Biden’s cabinet and other senior U.S. Government officials.  On Wednesday, March 29th, President Biden, joined by President Chaves of Costa Rica, Prime Minister Rutte of the Netherlands, President Yoon of the Republic of Korea, and President Hichilema of the Republic of Zambia will assemble world leaders in a series of virtual leader-level plenary sessions.  We’ve extended invitations to 120 foreign governments and other partners to join this group.  Interspersed throughout the day will be interventions from noteworthy pro-democracy and pro-human rights advocates who will have a chance to address government leaders.

Then, on Thursday, March 30th, each summit – government will host in its capital an in-person regional ministerial-level gathering with representatives from foreign governments and nongovernmental actors.  So what audiences will witness on March 30th is pretty unique, as we’ll have a summit ongoing in five different locations around the world, all happening on the same day.  The U.S.-hosted event on March 30th will focus on advancing technology for democracy, the topic of which will be a significant focus area of U.S. announcements during the summit.

Our foreign partners will focus their in-person events on March 30th on other thematic topics essential to the functioning of representative and accountable governance.  The Costa Rican event will focus on the role of youth in democratic systems; the Dutch event will focus on media freedom as a cornerstone of democracy; the South Korean event will focus on the fight against corruption; and the Zambian event will focus on bolstering free and fair elections.  The U.S. Government is sending high-level delegations to each of our co-host partners’ events in support of what they’re doing.  So, for example, Ambassador Katherine Tai, the U.S. Trade Representative, will lead our delegation in Korea, and Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, our ambassador to the United Nations, will lead the delegation to Costa Rica.

The thematic events hosted by U.S. Government departments and agencies on Tuesday, March 28th that I mentioned will also touch on core summit themes.  These will include, among several others – and again, I’d refer you to the website for a full rundown – meetings and events focused on a just and lasting peace in Ukraine and also the imperative of gender equality to democratic, rights-respecting societies.  And both of those events will be hosted by Secretary Blinken – Secretary of State Blinken.

The importance of the fight against corruption, hosted by Treasury Secretary Yellen; and the ways in which the Department of Justice is defending the rule of law from transnational threats, which will come via a speech from Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.  In addition, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves will represent the U.S. Government at a half-day forum on business and democracy hosted here in Washington by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, CSIS, which will spotlight the importance of private – of the private sector to democracy and the commitments that companies are making to advance it.

On the U.S. side alone by my count, the summit is likely to involve the participation of nearly 20 of the U.S. Government’s seniormost officials, but it’s also going to include dozens of our foreign government partners and numerous civil society and NGOs from around the world who have come together in their own right to host events on the margins of this summit, starting this week and particularly on Monday of next week, both in Washington and around the world.

And I’ll close just by saying a few brief words on the announcements we intend to make next week.  I don’t want to get ahead of the President and other senior officials, but suffice it to say that we’re looking forward to announcing a number of new initiatives to demonstrate how the United States is working to advance our pro-democracy and pro-human rights agenda.  These announcements will include significant additional financial investment in the Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal, which President Biden launched at the first Summit for Democracy with over $400 million in funding.  New funding will enable new and existing initiatives, programs, and policies that support free and independent media, combat corruption, bolster democratic reformers and human rights activists, defend free and fair elections, and ensure that technology works for and not against democratic societies.  And as I alluded to previously, we expect to place particular focus on announcements related to our technology for democracy agenda during the summit itself.

So I’ll conclude with that, Doris, and welcome questions.  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, sir.  Thank you for those remarks.  We will start the question and answer portion of today’s briefing.  For those in the room, please raise your hand and wait for the microphone.  For those on Zoom, you can also raise your virtual hand.  And we will start in the room.  Let’s start with Alex Raufoglu, Turan News Agency.

QUESTION:  Thank you so very much, Rob.  Thank you so much for coming down here, briefing about the results of the – results of the summit as one of the positive signs is having you here second time since December, so we welcome you here.  Are you in a position to break down the list in terms of the countries that are, let’s say, left out?  They were represented last time, will not be represented this time?  And also some of the newcomers, if you don’t mind.


QUESTION:  I have some few other tough questions – yeah, let me know if you want me to throw them all at you now, or one by one you will take them.  So, which one.

MR BERSCHINSKI:  Okay.  So I’ll just address the question on invitations.  As I mentioned, we’re inviting around 120 different foreign governments and partners.  Our approach to the invitations is, as it was at the first Summit for Democracy, to form a big tent.  So we have reinvited all of those governments and partners that were invited to the first summit in December of 2021 and also added eight new governments from around the world.

With each of those, what we’ve seen is positive steps towards the summit’s theme in terms of strengthening democracy and promoting respect for human rights.  The new governments are at very different stages in terms of the depth and strength of their democracy, which is true of all of our invitees, but at the end of the day we wanted to include those who have the political will, and we want to put wind in their sails so that they can do their part to advance democracies both within their countries and around the world.

QUESTION:  Thanks for that.  Are you in a position to name them, the countries that you mentioned?

MR BERSCHINSKI:  Sure.  So new countries that will be invited for the second summit include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Mauritania, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Honduras.

QUESTION:  That’s extremely helpful.  Thank you so very much.  Two more question.


QUESTION:  (Inaudible) the contrast in terms of performance of some of the countries that were part of the first summit, such as, in my region in Georgia it has been backsliding, judging from the latest human rights report.  And some other countries, such as those in Central Asia, were not part of the summit, but the Secretary has just returned back from the region, and he mentioned some tangible steps that they have been taking.  Is it going to be reflected in your – when you look at the invitation list, and also next, let’s say, year of action, when you work with those countries?

MR BERSCHINSKI:  Yeah, it’s a good question.  Like I said, we want to – this is a summit for democracy; it’s not necessarily a summit of democracies.  And despite the fact that we are pitching an extraordinarily large tent, we need to draw the line somewhere.  So our main message to governments around the world is, as we always do, we want to engage on matters of democratic renewal, strengthening institutions that reflect popular will, and accountability, and transparency.  That’s not limited, of course, to the Summit for Democracy.

We took the approach of reinviting all the countries that we invited in 2021.  And you mentioned Georgia.  We have made clear our concerns with democratic backsliding in Georgia.  The president of Georgia was just welcomed here in the United States.  She’s been an outspoken voice for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations, and she will be the representative of that country that we invite to the Summit for Democracy.

QUESTION:  I appreciate that.  And my last one, I promise.  I want to give you a chance to appeal to the countries particular – such as Azerbaijan, particularly those that will not be represented at all, neither by their governments – no thanks for that because they don’t deserve to be there, given their human rights records – but also their civil society members and opposition will be sidelined, given the circumstances in those countries.  What do you want people with democratic aspirations living in those countries such as Azerbaijan take away from this?  So out of this, when they look at the presidents gathering with world leaders and discussing democracy and something that it is not really attaching upon their countries necessarily?  Thanks so much.

MR BERSCHINSKI:  So I think it’s good to reinforce that in launching the Summit for Democracy this isn’t just about the two events back in December and now in March of 2023.  We refer to this as a process, and what that process has done over the course of two years now is launch any number of different conversations: conversations amongst governments, including the United States but not limited to the United States; conversations between governments and activists – some formal, some informal; these regional gatherings that we’ll have next week in our co-host capitals; and just an extraordinary outpouring of support and work and new initiatives from advocates, NGOs, and other members of civil society, as I alluded to.

So each of those components is absolutely vital to this process in the way each of those components is vital to thriving democracy.  And we would say to activists from governments that have not been invited, many of whom are participating in this process in different ways, the process is going to continue and there will be opportunity to engage moving forward, and that’s really at the root of this.  The Summit for Democracy process is about starting a conversation and having all actors who contribute to well-functioning democracy make commitments around improvement moving forward.  That’s not limited just to governments.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Let’s go to Beatriz here.  And Beatriz, if you could say your name and outlet.

QUESTION:  Hi, I’m Beatrix Pascual.  I am with EFE, the news agency in Spanish.  And I wanted to follow up on something you mentioned.  You said that Honduras is one of the eight countries that has been newly invited.  I wanted to see if you could please elaborate what was behind that decision, if it has something to do with the new president who took office after the first summit, Xiomara Castro.  And I have another question, but I can wait for you to —

MR BERSCHINSKI:  Great.  Okay, thank you.  Nice to meet you.  So as you alluded to, Honduras held free and fair elections in November of 2021 that led to a peaceful transfer of power.  And the Castro administration continues to express its commitment to strengthening democratic governance and has committed to establishing a UN anti-corruption commission as part of the fight against corruption.

So an invitation to the second Summit for Democracy doesn’t imply, as I mentioned earlier, that all aspects of any country’s democracy are perfect, but it does demonstrate that the United States has made a commitment to our partners who work to strengthen democratic governance that we want to work with them.  So that’s really where we’re coming from in terms of the invitation to the Honduran Government.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  And my second question was about the activists and civil society figures that are going to intervene during the summit.  I know that some countries of Latin America have – some governments have not been invited, like Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, El Salvador.  Are some civil figures from those countries intervening in the summit?  Thank you.

MR BERSCHINSKI:  The short answer is yes.  You will see, over the course of the summit, activists from the countries you mentioned in the Western Hemisphere but from all over the world both having an opportunity in some cases to directly address world leaders, but also to be involved in the thematic events I mentioned that are taking place next Tuesday, and also the events hosted in various capitals of our co-hosts, including San Jose, Costa Rica.  We expect leaders, activists, advocates to play a central role in all of these various events around the summit, to include from countries like Venezuela and Nicaragua.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, sir.  We’ll go online and then we’ll come back to the room.  So I see we have several hands raised.  Let’s go to Elmar Thevessen from ZDF Germany.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.  I appreciate this opportunity.  Good morning to everyone.  I have a question about the countries that are considered to be strong democracies but are in the process of backsliding, and namely, for example, Hungary, Israel, Poland, but also Mexico, where the president is trying to limit the capabilities of the election institute, which creates of course a huge – created huge protests within the country.

So how do you plan to send the signal that something like this, this kind of backsliding, is not okay if the democratic principles have to be and should be upheld by everyone?

MR BERSCHINSKI:  Thanks.  So let me just say in the course of U.S. bilateral relations, we are raising with all of our foreign partners, not least the I believe four that you mentioned, issues around promotion of democratic values and institution and protection of human rights.  So these issues come up consistently throughout U.S. foreign policy, not least, I should mention, through the State Department’s Human Rights Reports, which were just issued by my colleagues at the State Department earlier this week.

Again, the Summit for Democracy is meant to provide a platform for those governments to talk about the steps – that are invited to talk about the steps they’re taking to advance democracy both within their own borders and in partnership with others around the world.

We made our invitation decisions on the basis of political will.  We recognize that governments are in different places in terms of perhaps advancing in some regards and taking controversial steps with respect to democracy in their countries in other regards.  Let me – but let me just say in aggregate the President feels like we’re turning a corner, and that’s based on a large amount of data reinforced by some of the best advocacy organizations that track measures of democracy and freedom around the world, who have indicated in recent months and weeks that the democratic backsliding in aggregate we’ve seen around the world may be turning a corner.  And that’s really what the Summit for Democracy is all about.  Notwithstanding events in individual countries, we wanted to shine a bright light on the need to strengthen democracy in the aggregate, and the data shows that that’s beginning to occur, and we want to reinforce that trend.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Let’s go to Pearl Matibe.

QUESTION:  Thank you so much, and being flexible to come and discuss this with us.  Rob, it’s good to see you again.

MR BERSCHINSKI:  Good to see you.

QUESTION:  We last saw you in December just before the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.  So thank you so much and I just want to give you some encouragement to please continue to do these for us.  It’s super important for the work that we do.

So, Rob, please allow me a few questions here.  Right.  First I’m going to ask you:  This creation – let me just give some context.  This creation of this summit is really a President Biden initiative, and while this summit will have co-hosts, it will be America’s credibility that is on display with this second democracy summit.  First question to you:  Could you clarify just for the record – I know you probably already have this value, but if you could just state it or articulate it for the record – would you agree with me that journalism is the cornerstone of democracy, that a well-informed society is a prerequisite for a functioning, healthy democracy, Rob?



MR BERSCHINSKI:  I’m happy to say that journalism is a cornerstone of a well-functioning democracy.

QUESTION:  Okay.  And so my question to you is – here’s what’s happening.  Thousands of African journalists, African women journalists, African editors, and foreign correspondents like myself, who have not felt the outcomes of the first democracy summit’s Year of Action, I just want to know from you how will these end beneficiaries benefit from this summit.  I understand that it’s going to be sort of a virtual format, right?  So how will their interaction be a seat at the decision-making table?  Or are they just going to be, like, talked at?  That’s my first part of my question.

I did reach out to your office for several weeks now, and I’m hoping that I can engage with your office offline, because the responses have not really been satisfactory, Rob, to be honest.  Press freedom and journalism – the work we do – is super important to democracy.  I reached out to the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson.  I’m going to quote for you what she said to me.  Quote, “I refer you to the State Department in the freedom” – she said, “The Netherlands, as a co-host for the regional event of the summit, will” – she said, “Our aim is to target more a regional European audience as media freedom is also under pressure in the Netherlands and in the wider part of Europe.”  Which tell – end of quote – which tells me that Africans, African journalists and press freedom for Africa, is not going to be a key element threaded into this conference.  The focus is going to be on a European audience, Rob.

So I’m really concerned about how journalists will benefit.  I’m going to give you a quote from an African editor who’s asked this question:  “I’ve been fielding tons of questions since the beginning of  the year,” quote.  “How can I attend the summit in Zambia?”  That was a question I received from an African journalist.

Rob, back to you.  I really would like to understand, and I see – I note the exclusion from the eight additional governments.  Please speak to Eswatini, which has still got an absolute monarch, and Zimbabwe.  How, if you’re not including them, will those populations benefit from this summit?  Thanks.

MR BERSCHINSKI:  Thanks for that question.  So let me just say in terms of the priority that the U.S. Government places on media freedom and the sustainability of the journalistic enterprise, I mentioned in my opening remarks the Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal.  This is our flagship program of both foreign assistance and policies that reflect key pillars of what it means to have a strong and well-functioning democratic system, and media freedom and journalistic sustainability are one of the five core areas.

So since the first summit when we announced this initiative, we’ve invested significant new resources – in addition to, I should add, the very significant resources already undertaken via U.S. democracy, human rights, and governance programming around the world in defending members of the press around the world.  So we’ve invested in the International Fund for Independent Media, for example, bringing along many partners in the Summit for Democracy process.  We’ve launched a new program by which we will seed what is similar to an insurance pool, allowing journalists who are hit with so-called SLAPP suits to be able to have a means to defend themselves, among other programs.

So we’re taking a number of different steps.  As you mentioned, one of our co-hosts, the Netherlands, is focusing its regional event on media freedom as well, and I think that’s a good indication of how seriously we take this issue collectively and what a core function it is to well-functioning democratic governance around the world.  Our African partner, Zambia, has elected to focus its co-host day event on free and fair elections, which I don’t think anybody can argue are equally important to democracy.  So we are fully in support of the Zambians’ choice to focus their day on that theme, and we’re hopeful that they will invite not just regional governments, but advocates and members of the press as well.  That’s certainly our hope and expectation, and the nature of the dialogue we’ve had with them.  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Rob.  Let’s go back to the room, and we’ll go here.  If you could state your name and your media outlet.

QUESTION:  Hi.  I’m Sierra Cougot with Japan’s Kyodo News, and I just wanted to thank you all again for doing this for us.  So I was hoping to ask you if Taiwan is expected to participate in any way, and what that would entail, whether it’s a government delegation or a civil society delegation, or otherwise.  Thank you.

MR BERSCHINSKI:  So the answer is yes, Taiwan participated in the first summit in December of 2021.  Its participation in the second summit will look very similar.  So we expect to have representatives from Taiwan involved in different capacities during the course of the Summit for Democracy.

MODERATOR:  Great.  And let’s go to Prashant in the back.

QUESTION:  Prashant Jha from The Hindustan Times.  My question is South Asia-focused.  One broader question which has come up earlier:  The list to many seems very arbitrary.  And I ask this because the exclusion of certain countries in South Asia which claim, and have a reasonable record of being democratic.  And I want to ask you first about Bangladesh, and what your concerns about Bangladesh are which has merited its exclusion for the second year in a row.  I also want to ask you about Sri Lanka and Bhutan, and why you think that these countries, which – Bhutan is an Eastern democracy, but has had periodic elections, and Sri Lanka, which you even saw big popular agitation last year – don’t merit inclusion in a list that you have drawn up.

MR BERSCHINSKI:  So I’m not going to get into the particulars of the decision-making around who was and wasn’t invited.  I can only reiterate that we were looking in building the invite list for the summit to reflect both the diversity of democratic governance around the world and to pitch a big tent in terms of who’s invited.

And receiving an invitation to the Summit for Democracy is not the U.S. Government passing judgment on the state of any particular country’s governance.  We want to continue to make that clear.  We’ve been very clear with both the Government of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka about the state of democracy and human rights in those two countries, and we look forward to working with both of them moving forward.  As I said, this is a process.  We want to see improvements.  That’s a standard we hold ourselves in the United States to, and this isn’t necessarily the last word in terms of the dialogue that we’re having with both of those governments.

QUESTION:  Just to ask a follow-up.  I know you don’t want to get into the particulars, but because this is so striking, I’ll ask you:  While these countries have been excluded, Pakistan has been included, and we know . . .

QUESTION:  One follow-up.  I know you don’t want to get into the particulars, but because this is so striking, I’ll ask you:  While these countries have been excluded, Pakistan has been included, and we know the state of civil-military relations there, which would indicate that it is not as flawless a democracy as one would think.  So while I understand that this is not you passing judgment, it does appear to many that the exclusion of some countries and the inclusion of some countries, particularly in South Asia, reflects maybe just political priorities rather than an objective assessment of the political conditions in these countries.  Would you agree or disagree with that?

MR BERSCHINSKI:  No, I would disagree with that.  And I think we have strong and important relations with both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and those relationships are not in any way impacted by an invitation to the summit.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  We have time for just a few more questions.  Are there any more questions in the room?

We’ll go back to Alex.

QUESTION:  Thank you so much.  I want to ask you about transnational repression.  I just noticed that it is on website and it there will be a hearing, a special event on that with deputy attorney general.   Can you speak to the importance of it?  Thanks so much.

MR BERSCHINSKI:  I’m sorry.  Will you say that last —

QUESTION:  Importance of that particular session, the state of transnational repression, how much of it is your concern, and why did you decide to focus on it in particular.  Thank you.

MR BERSCHINSKI:  So transnational repression, meaning the increasing trend of autocratic governance seeking to silence dissidents and journalists and activists outside their own borders, is a trend that the Biden administration has been concerned with from day one.  We’ve spent quite a bit of time working on the different facets of how we can push back against this trend.

So it’s appropriate to lift up during the Summit for Democracy.  We’ve seen instances of transnational repression going on within the United States, and I would expect the deputy attorney general to speak to some of those instances, and also many noteworthy examples of governments kidnapping dissidents, using the threat of abuse against family members in that individual’s home country, holding a threat against a family member against them to silence their voices abroad as well.  So this is a dynamic that impacts both citizens and non-citizens within the United States and diaspora members around the world, and it’s worthy of increased attention.

I think you’ll see deliverables from the U.S. Government that we will announce next week that are focused on ways that we are increasingly addressing this issue, and we look forward to Deputy Attorney General Monaco’s remarks, talking about the role that the Department of Justice plays in ensuring that anyone within U.S. borders is safe from transnational repression.

MODERATOR:  We will go back online, and then we’ll come to the room.  Apologies if I mispronounce the name.  Dilge Timocin with VOA Turkish Service.

QUESTION:  Yes, hi.  The State Department released the human rights report just two days ago, and for Türkiye the report says, and I quote, “Under broad anti-terror legislation passed in 2018, the government continued to restrict the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms and compromised the rule of law.”

So I know my colleagues also asked about their countries, but I just want to confirm.  Türkiye was excluded from the first summit and not invited to the second summit.  Can you clarify the reasons why Türkiye is not invited?  Does it need to be read as President Erdogan’s exclusion or is it because of the – I don’t know – upcoming elections in Türkiye or like one of the cohosts were maybe against the invitation?

MR BERSCHINSKI:  So let me say that Türkiye remains an important NATO Ally of the United States and an incredibly important partner.  And so that’s worth repeating.  I won’t duplicate what you just read in terms of what the State Department announced, in terms of the state of human rights within Türkiye.  The U.S. Government has been quite clear in terms of our assessment of the status of democracy and human rights within the country.  But I can confirm for you that Türkiye was not invited to the second Summit for Democracy.

MODERATOR:  And we’ll take our last question with Beatriz.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  I have two questions, very briefly.  I wanted to follow up in the issue of invitations.  Will Juan Guaidó, the Venezuelan opposition – will he be invited?  Because he was invited the first —

MR BERSCHINSKI:  I’m sorry.  Can you say again?

QUESTION:  Juan Guaidó was –

MR BERSCHINSKI:  Oh, Juan.  Yeah.

QUESTION:   Just like that question.  And then I wanted to ask you about Ukraine and how you think – how importance the war in Ukraine – how important it will be during the summit and if President Zelenskyy will be talking or participating in any way.  Thank you.

MR BERSCHINSKI:  So I mentioned that we will have the opportunity to hear from noteworthy democratic opposition members and human rights activists at various times during the summit.  I would refer you to the State Department webpage for those that we’ve announced.  We haven’t announced all of them, and I’ll just leave it at that for now.

In terms of Ukraine and the participation of President Zelenskyy, I would refer you to the Ukrainian Government in terms of confirming President Zelenskyy’s participation, but our expectation is that he will participate in the summit, as with many dozens of foreign leaders.  And as I mentioned in my opening remarks, we’re going to dedicate a session on Tuesday to a just and sustainable peace in Ukraine hosted by Secretary of State Blinken.  So Ukraine and Russia’s brutal invasion will be featured in the Summit for Democracy.  But of course we’re mindful of the fact that, from the get-go, this process has been about strengthening democracy around the world, and so it’s certainly not limited to Ukraine.

MODERATOR:  And Rob, I will throw it back to you for closing remarks.

MR BERSCHINSKI:  Okay.  Nothing to add other than thank you all for spending the time.  We’re really looking forward to all of the week’s events next week.  Please stay tuned.  We’ve got, I think, an impressive package of announcements that we’re going to be making over the course of the year – excuse me – course of the week.  And so look forward to engaging with all of you on those as they’re made public.  Thank you, Doris.

MODERATOR:  On behalf of the Foreign Press Center, I’d like to thank you for briefing us today.  I would like to thank all of the journalists who joined today.  And with that, this concludes today’s briefing.  Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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