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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good afternoon, everyone.  It’s a great pleasure to actually be able to be face to face with my colleague, Catherine Colonna, the new French foreign minister.  It probably doesn’t feel new anymore because the challenges pile up quickly.  But we’ve had the chance to work together already in some depth by phone and at a distance, but it’s wonderful to be here with you today.

And I think we’re joined in solidarity with our G7 partners, as I discussed earlier, on meeting the challenges of this moment.  We’ve focused intensively already on Ukraine, the support that we’re giving Ukraine in terms of security assistance, economic assistance, humanitarian assistance; the work we’re doing to continue to put pressure on Russia to end its war of aggression against Ukraine, and of course the work that we’ll do at NATO later in – next week at the summit.  And of course, we’ve just now focused intensively on one of the horrific byproducts of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and that is an accelerated food security crisis and the work that G7 and many others are doing to address it.

So, we have all of those topics and more to touch base on.  Welcome, and wonderful to be with you here in Berlin.

FOREIGN MINISTER COLONNA:  Merci beaucoup.  Merci, Monsieur Secrétaire d’État.

Well, everybody knows that France is the oldest ally of the United States of America, and our meeting today is just another expression that we are strong allies and close partners.  The name of Lafayette is famous and respected on both sides of the Atlantic.  It is our third conversation in a month, which is quite a good start, I’d say.

Allow me to switch to French.

(Via interpreter) Of course, it is also about our partnership, and we see eye to eye, and it’s about talking about our common views and the necessity in the coming month to maintain our unity.  Democracy, human rights, respect for the law, for humanitarian law, all of them are in danger.  We are facing the same challenges: a war that may last.  We’re already seeing the consequences on energy prices, on food prices all around the world, and this is the reason why we’re gathering here in Berlin today.  We’re seeing, as well, the consequences on our economies in our countries.  So we’re here to coordinate our answer, and you can count on me.  This is dear to me.

We’re also here to build our alliance, the alliance to which we belong, to build its future, to make it a stronger alliance.  We – Europe and the Atlantic alliance strengthen one another, and a stronger and more sovereign Europe only contributes to the security of our countries.

Tony, you’re always welcome in France, in Paris, your second home.  (Laughter.)  And I myself might be coming to the United States – at the latest, anyway – in September to attend the General Assembly of the UN and our presidency of the Security Council.  Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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