(As Prepared)

ASSISTANT SECRETARY MEDINA:  Thank you all for investing in today’s discussion and your willingness to face future challenges and advance opportunities in the Atlantic together.

I think it’s safe to say that the Atlantic holds an important place in the national identity of each and every one of our countries.  It impacts our economic potential, our security, and our citizens’ livelihoods. A healthy, secure, thriving Atlantic is a prerequisite for a healthy, secure, and thriving community among all of our nations.

The Atlantic region is dynamic and changing – so it makes sense for us to gather and consider the region holistically.  And our work together, predicated on cooperation and dialogue, will allow us to tackle challenges and advance opportunity.

Our meeting here today begins a process of working together, as coastal Atlantic States, to strengthen our cooperation as we work towards the important goal of protecting and renewing the Atlantic region.  We hope to continue this collaboration moving forward.

This collaboration requires us to be in conversation with each other – not just bilaterally, or in regional groups, but as a group representing the entire Atlantic.

And we recognize and appreciate the work you and your nations have already done to address the challenges we face in the Atlantic.

Now, I think it is important to emphasize that the Joint Statement many of us have agreed to support is not a legal commitment, nor a promise to join a future organization.  It is, however, an honest and straightforward acknowledgment of our shared interests. It also outlines our shared responsibility to keep the Atlantic healthy, sustainable, and resilient.

We do hope as many of you as are present today can join us in signing on to this joint statement. It will be released this afternoon, so please communicate your signature to us as soon as possible.

I hope that we can also join together to encourage other Atlantic countries to endorse this Statement and begin working with us.

To echo Secretary Blinken, we are inspired by the potential that lies ahead.

Thank you again for your commitment to strengthening Atlantic Cooperation.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future