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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good evening, everyone.  And it’s wonderful to be here with my friend and counterpart, Foreign Minister Payne.  We’ve had, I think, what’s been a terrific year, and really, really remarkable things between Australia and the United States, from the Quad Leaders’ Summit to AUKUS to our 2+2 to the extremely important concentration and coordination on a whole series of issues.  There’s going to be more (inaudible) from our perspective on what we’re doing, and (inaudible) opportunity to spend some time here in Liverpool.  So it’s nice to be with you, and lots to talk about.

FOREIGN MINISTER PAYNE:  Thank you very much, Tony, and it is great to see you again.  It has been a year of real (inaudible), and I enjoyed the opportunity to work with you particularly.

Can I say at the beginning, though, our deep condolences in relation to the terrible tornado impacts in the United States.  The news is very distressing.


FOREIGN MINISTER PAYNE:  These things always happen at the most awful time of the year, and I feel deeply —


FOREIGN MINISTER PAYNE:  — for those families who are impacted, and I wanted to convey Australia’s sympathies.

But we have achieved a great deal in 2021, whether it is the announcement of AUKUS – a really important trilateral partnership between Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom; the outcomes of the first Quad leaders’ meeting, in person notwithstanding COVID, notwithstanding all of the challenges, and the really practical actions that that enables us to take to work with partners in the region.  And I know that you and I, our friends from Japan and India really value those engagements.  They are now cemented into our future, whether it is the Quad, whether it is AUKUS.  And the concrete that is the Australia-U.S. alliance for us underpins all of that effort.

So looking forward to talking this evening, and great to be back at the G7+.  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Very good.  Thanks.

U.S. Department of State

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