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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good morning, everyone.  It’s a great pleasure to have my friend and colleague from Bahrain, the foreign minister here.  Abdullatif, welcome back to the State Department.


SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Bahrain, of course, is a longstanding ally and partner of the United States.  I’m particularly pleased today that we will be working on our third strategic dialogue.  And this is only further evidence of the importance that we attach to the relationship between the United States and Bahrain, and a deepening and expanding cooperation in a whole host of areas that the strategic dialogue will be covering.  We also stand strongly together for security in the Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, and we are working in close coordination on a series of regional challenges.

I also have to mention that we were together as part of the Negev Forum —


SECRETARY BLINKEN:  — last year.  And we look forward to continuing that process, which we believe can, in a very practical way, deepen and strengthen integration throughout the region.  Which will be, I think, a powerful source of security, stability, and prosperity for people throughout the region as we continue to progress in that direction.

But Abdullatif, welcome.  It’s great to have you here.

FOREIGN MINISTER AL-ZAYANI:  Thank you.  Thank you, my friend, Antony.  Thank you for the warm welcome.  And I’m really delighted to be back in Washington.  I am honored to meet your excellency, to review the relationship between the United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain, a relationship that extends for more than 130 years.  It started with health diplomacy, by having the first ever hospital in the region —


FOREIGN MINISTER AL-ZAYANI:  — the American missionary hospital.  And then it was followed by a defense diplomacy, while having the first two U.S. naval vessels stationed in Bahrain to ensure the security of the oil supply.  And then followed by the State Department —


FOREIGN MINISTER AL-ZAYANI:  — diplomacy and relationship 52 years ago.

We are really honored with this relationship.  The relationship tackles and address all regional and global issues, from security to economic prosperity as well as embracing coexistence and countering extremism.  We’re really proud of this relationship.  I’m looking forward for today’s meeting to see if there is any other potential to increase and strengthen our already strong relationship to explore areas for more bonding and to work together to face new challenges.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.


SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you, everyone.


U.S. Department of State

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