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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  All right.  Good afternoon, everyone.  It’s particularly good to see my friend and partner Josep Borrell and all of our colleagues from the EU.  We are partners of first resort when it comes to tackling the many challenges that are before us that are having an impact on the lives of our citizens, and one of the areas we’re working more closely together than ever is in the broader Indo-Pacific, where we have very common approaches and where we, I think, are effectively bringing those approaches together. 

So it’s a good opportunity for me to be able to compare notes with Josep as we head into some of the meetings that we’re having here in Cambodia, including with our – with our ASEAN partners, and a number of things that are on the agenda that both the European Union and the United States are very focused on, to include, of course, the ongoing consequences of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine – for example, on food insecurity that’s felt literally around the world, challenges with energy prices as well exacerbated by Russia’s aggression – but also many issues in this region directly, including the situation in Burma that has gone from bad to worse with the horrific execution of democracy activists just a few days ago, but also a very important and affirmative agenda with ASEAN.  We’re both committed to ASEAN centrality and we’re both working closely with colleagues from the ASEAN countries and ASEAN itself to advance a strong agenda that deals with both the challenges that people are facing on everything from climate to COVID to emerging technologies to dealing effectively with sustaining themselves. 

So a lot to be – a lot to be discussed.  And Josep, as always, it’s wonderful to be with you. 

HIGH REPRESENTATIVE BORRELL:  Thank you.  Thank you, Tony.  I like to be considered a friend of first resort.  (Laughter.)  It’s a nice expression.  Usually you’re talking about the lender of last resort, and to be a friend of that resort is a good thing.  We are friends of first resort.  We count on each other.  Our relationship, the transatlantic relationship, is stronger than ever.

We are working together defending and supporting Ukraine from the Russian aggressions.  It will be a good occasion to explain to the world again that the food and energy crisis is not a consequence of our sanctions but the consequences of the war and of the Russian blockade with the (inaudible). 

I think that we have to make a bigger effort in order to counter this Russian narrative.  I think it’s important for the world to understand who is guilty for that, who is the one who owes us (inaudible).

And this partnership and relationship is also important for the events in the Indo-Pacific, facing the situation in these areas (inaudible) with respect to China.  There’s some news on this front and we have to talk about it. 

And then we’ll use this opportunity also to share with, again, the Secretary of State about the JCPOA negotiations which we’ve been trying to push and (inaudible) administrations.  Let’s hope that it can be fruitful. 

And also about the situation of the world economy, because the war in Ukraine has created a tectonic change and is sending shockwaves around the world, and everybody is paying the price for that.  In Europe we will have to face the gas shortage.  Thank you for (inaudible) this issue to substitute with American gas the Russian gas that we are going to have (inaudible).

Thank you for the opportunity and thank you for a strong confirmation and friendship.   

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thanks, everyone.

U.S. Department of State

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