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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon.  Wonderful to see everyone.  Pekka, welcome.  It’s so good to see you.  We had an opportunity to see each other briefly at – in Brussels at the NATO, but I was very much looking forward to being able to spend some more time.

We – the United States and Finland are such close partners in so many places around the world, including side by side in conflict zones, but also side by side in diplomacy, and working to make progress in so many different areas.  So I’m very much looking forward to the opportunity to compare notes on a number of things we’re working on together.  And of course we’re here for the Arctic Council and a shared commitment to maintain the Arctic as a place for peaceful cooperation to advance sustainable development, to work on climate, on science, on the living conditions for indigenous peoples in the region.

So lots to talk about.  I’m just grateful for the opportunity to be able to spend some time today, (inaudible).

FOREIGN MINISTER HAAVISTO:  Thank you, Tony, and the delegation, and thank you for this opportunity of meeting you.  It was great already to meet you shortly in Brussels, but today we had the talks.

And of course, Finland and the U.S., we are co-partners in many issues, as you said, on security issues and the world politics, but we have also very good bilateral relations, and of course technologic (inaudible), transit, and all these issues fighting against climate change are a common focus for us.  And of course, we are both also Arctic Council as you – Arctic Council members and Arctic countries.  I actually participated in Ottawa in ’96 when the Arctic Council was founded.  I was a minister at that time.  And it’s – it has been great to see it growing, but of course many challenges remain there.  And of course, we are particularly happy that we can now work together on climate issues and environmental issues of the Arctic region.

So thank you for this opportunity.  (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Good to see you.  Thank you all very much.

U.S. Department of State

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