SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon, everyone.  It’s a great pleasure to have Minister Sommerfeld, Minister García here with us – all of our colleagues from Ecuador – the ambassador.  First, to both of you, congratulations and welcome to your new portfolios.  I know the experience of starting out, having a very high inbox, and maybe not such a high outbox, but we’re grateful to have you here today. 

Our two countries have benefited from decades of cooperation, and we see that cooperation on a bilateral basis.  We see it on a regional basis.  We see it even on a global basis, including with Ecuador as leader of the UN Security Council in this moment.  The work that we’re doing together on migration, on hemispheric challenges like Haiti, as well as the global agenda at the UN could not be more important or more valued, and we’re grateful for that. 

We’re also very focused on strengthening even more the bilateral partnership between our countries with President Noboa.  I had the opportunity to speak to him on the phone a few weeks ago, and in particular areas like citizen security where we know we can do more together – all of the work that’s being done as well to strengthen even more our economic partnership.  We look forward to talking about that.  And just last week, we celebrated our Arturo Torres, who won one of our awards for the incredibly courageous work that he’s been doing to combat corruption.  So it’s very good to have all of you here today and to pursue, strengthen, deepen the partnership between the United States and Ecuador. 

Madam Minister.

FOREIGN MINISTER SOMMERFELD:  Thank you so much, Mr. Secretary, and thank you all for receiving this Ecuadorian delegation.  It’s as well very important for Ecuador to make his – its first overseas visit to the U.S. to show how important is the U.S. for Ecuador regarding cooperation, regarding our bilateral relationship, strengthening work in security matters, economic matters, immigration matters.  So thank you very much for receiving us here today. 

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you. 

U.S. Department of State

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