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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good morning, everyone.  And Minister Sameh, welcome.  It’s wonderful, as always, to have you here.

It’s a particular pleasure for me to be able to welcome the foreign minister.  We were together just a few weeks ago in the Negev for what was an extraordinary occasion, a meeting with our counterparts from Israel, the UAE, Morocco, Bahrain, our two countries – a picture that would have been hard to imagine just a few years ago, except that, actually, Egypt would have imagined it, because Egypt was, many, many years ago, the groundbreaker in establishing its relationship with Israel and, in so many ways since then, has been at the heart of stability in the region, working for peace, working for security, and doing so in strategic partnership with the United States, something that we deeply value and deeply appreciate.

So this is – we – when we saw each other we agreed it would be a good time to pursue our own conversations about that partnership that we will do today.

This happens to mark, as well, the centennial of diplomatic relations between Egypt and the United States.  There is a lot of history but, I hope, a lot of good history we can actually make together in the months and years ahead.

So a lot to talk about across the region and globally.  It’s very good to have you here, and I welcome you.

FOREIGN MINISTER SHOUKRY:  Well, Secretary Blinken, Tony, it is great to be here.  It’s always a pleasure to be back in Washington and to be working on strengthening what is an important relationship for Egypt.

The strategic partnership that exists now between Egypt and the United States over four decades has been mutually beneficial, and I believe there is much more work for both of us to do to further strengthen the relationship, and also to deal with the various challenges that I believe we can only meet through the continuing of our cooperation and our interaction.

And I am happy to have this opportunity to be with you again after our previous discussions when we met, and certainly this is a good opportunity for our third meeting this year, as a matter of honoring the centennial, and I’m sure that there will be further opportunities as the year progresses.

But once again, to highlight the importance that Egypt attaches to the multifaceted and very deep relationship that exists between Egypt and the United States, and our commitment to continue to work on strengthening that relationship and finding new areas of cooperation.  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Thank you all.

U.S. Department of State

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