SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, good afternoon, everyone. I’ll just say very quickly what a pleasure it is to see my friend and colleague Marise Payne. We’ve spent a fair bit of time together in various parts of the world —
FOREIGN MINISTER PAYNE: We’re here.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: — but it’s very good to see you here in Brussels. We’re excited at the prospect of bringing some of our partners from the Asia Pacific together with NATO – that’s certainly part of what we’re doing here together – but also a lot of work that we’re following up on that we’ve been doing together in the region through AUKUS, and many other initiatives that we’re engaged in, and of course, the situation resulting from Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
So, lots to catch up on. Great to see you.
FOREIGN MINISTER PAYNE: Indeed. Great to be here too, Tony, with our team. We’ve just arrived, as you noted, but importantly, at this critical time, a critical time for partners like Australia and the United States to be closely joined in response to the actions of authoritarian states that are untenable, unacceptable, complete illegal violations, wholesale violations of international law and the UN Charter. So coming here this week is extremely important for Australia to join with the United States and our partners in that response to make sure that we are working in as coordinated and comprehensive a way as possible.
So I’m looking forward to those discussions, and also to reinforcing the importance that no matter where in the world they behave like this, authoritarian states cannot be allowed to trample on the rights of democratic countries and on the people who have chosen to live and work in those democracies. So it is a very important engagement.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you.