SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good afternoon, everyone.  It’s a pleasure to welcome my colleague from the Bahamas, Foreign Minister Mitchell, here to the State Department – I should say back to the State Department, a veteran of this building.  But Fred, it’s wonderful to have you here, to have the whole team here.

The Bahamas is a key democratic partner for the United States in our shared hemisphere, and I would note that next year you’ll be celebrating the 50th anniversary of your independence.  We’re grateful for the partnership in so many different areas.  I have to say, Fred, your strong principled support when it comes to upholding the United Nations Charter in the face of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has been very strong and very powerful.

But of course, we’re bound together not only by our work in international organizations, but by exceptionally strong people-to-people ties, tourism, commercial ties.  We’re especially looking forward to partnering with the Bahamas as they assume the leadership of CARICOM and that, for us, is an extremely important and vibrant partnership.  We were together at the Summit of the Americas when President Biden, Vice President Harris had what I think was in many ways a historic meeting with CARICOM in terms of really setting out a strong agenda for the United States and CARICOM going forward.  We’re looking forward to carrying that forward with you, working on strengthening economic growth.  And of course, meeting together on the existential challenge of our times, which is the climate crisis, something that affects the Bahamas in particularly significant ways.

And finally, I would note we’re all looking at Tropical Storm Nicole, which is moving in your direction.  And of course we’ll do everything we can to work together to deal with any damage that that storm causes.

But Fred, welcome.  It’s very good to have you here.

FOREIGN MINISTER MITCHELL:  Right.  Thank you.  It’s an honor to be here.  I was telling you the last time I remember being – this was after President Reagan’s funeral, Colin hosted a reception here.  But good to be back.  And, of course, for the Bahamas it’s always good to reaffirm the partnership, the relationship.

We often say that we’re tied at the hip both by geography, economy, and in the culture.  And we cooperate in so many ways across the world to ensure that the human rights of people in all nations are upheld.  We certainly support the UN Charter and we are happy to be able to show our support on Ukraine.

The storms are coming and our prime minister’s now in Egypt, and of course he just delivered his address earlier today on climate change.  And we look forward to discussions on that – on the issue of loss and damage, and what we can do on adaptation and mitigation, and to basically continue the conversations that we have had, because we believe talking is a good way to try and solve problems.

Of course, we must thank the U.S. for all of the support that’s been given on the hurricanes – Hurricane Dorian.  Our people are quite nervous, as you can understand, now, in Abaco and Grand Bahama, with the storm bearing down.  So we’re going to be watching that very carefully.  And again, appreciate all the assistance that can be given should developments go like we would not want them to go.

So thank you again.  This is what I would describe as a rare favor, and appreciate the meeting, and I’m sure it’s going to be productive, and thank you to your team.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you, Fred, so much.

Thanks, everyone.

U.S. Department of State

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