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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good morning, everyone.  It is a great pleasure to have my colleague and friend Foreign Minister Hoekstra here.  We’ve been seeing each other at NATO it seems on a now almost regular basis, on the phone, but it’s especially good to have you here in Washington.

And it’s simply evidence of the fact that the partnership between the United States and the Netherlands couldn’t be stronger and also couldn’t be more important.  At a time of tremendous challenge in Europe and around the world, we are standing strongly, resolutely together in support of Ukraine, against Russia’s aggression, in defense of the rules-based order that both of our countries are united in our determination to defend.  We could not be more grateful for this partnership.  It’s a longstanding one, one that we place tremendous value on, and particularly in challenging times it always demonstrates its great value.

So we’re grateful for the leadership that the Netherlands is showing throughout Europe and indeed around the world.  The voice is strong, the voice is important, the voice is valued, and so is the partnership.

We’ve got lots of other things to talk about, but I’m really grateful for the opportunity to actually have you here in Washington and to continue the conversations we’ve been having these many weeks.  So welcome.

FOREIGN MINISTER HOEKSTRA:  Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary, Dear Tony. Thank you very much for having us in what is truly an unprecedented era in history.  And it’s also a time where we see more than ever the tremendous importance of the transatlantic bonds.

Thank you very much for your leadership, for making sure that you and NATO work seamlessly together, for making sure the excellent bond between our two countries is as strong as ever.  And we will make sure that we continue to work together on all the challenging events – currently Ukraine, but there is much more to do, much more geopolitical challenges that we will face, and we value very much the bilateral bonds but also the excellent relationship between the U.S. and the European Union.

Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you, all.

U.S. Department of State

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