CHANCELLOR MERKEL: (Via interpreter) Ladies and gentlemen. Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to be able to welcome the foreign secretary, the Secretary of State of the United States Antony Blinken, and that I have the opportunity to get to know him a little bit better in his new position.
Actually, what brings him here is the conference on Libya that has taken place this afternoon, and I’m very grateful for the fact that Tony Blinken has set out on this journey to attend this conference because it is very important that we send out a united signal in the direction of Libya that we want to, first and foremost, see that the people of Libya determine their future, but also to indicate that international partners stand ready to accompany them on their path. Because we’re all aware of the strategic importance that the situation in Libya has with an eye to Africa, but also with an eye to the relationship between Africa and Europe.
We will have the opportunity for a brief exchange of views and we will undoubtedly touch upon the transatlantic agenda, the individual issues there. I had the opportunity of meeting the newly elected American President Joe Biden at the G7 Summit meeting in Cornwall and then afterwards at the NATO Summit meeting in Brussels. I would say that we’ve been able to find a common basis on which to tackle the geostrategic challenges of the world, not only identify them but actually to agree on a common approach towards these problems. This is true with an eye to Russia, with an eye to China, but it is equally true with an eye to the possible alliances we might form that represent our interests, and we will continue that exchange.
There’s also been a bilateral exchange of views between President Biden and the Russian President Mr. Putin, and I strongly welcome the fact that such a meeting has taken place. He has also met with the Chinese leadership – in Alaska, that is. Given all the controversies in the world, I think it is fair to say that we need to keep open channels for dialogue in which we can explain our positions and our approaches and then seek possible corridors towards solving these problems.
Again, thank you very much for coming to pay a visit. We look back on a very long history of good American-German relations and we are delighted that the American states, in order to quote the American President Joe Biden, are back again on the international, multilateral scene. Germany and America are partners in that regard, we are aware of the responsibility we bear, and I look forward to the exchange of views today.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Chancellor Merkel, thank you very much. Thank you for receiving me. Thank you for taking the time. But thank you especially for your remarkable leadership. I think it’s fair to say that the United States has no better partner, no better friend in the world than Germany. And it starts with, of course, shared values and shared interests but also, I think something the chancellor has expressed, a shared conviction that of all of the challenges that we face and that have an impact on the lives of our people, we know and we agree that no one country can address them alone.
There is a premium, maybe more than ever before, on cooperation, on coordination, on working with others, and Germany has set the example in doing just that. Whether it’s on COVID-19, climate change, the disruptive impact of new technologies, across the board the things that are really having an impact on the lives of our people, Germany and the United States share a conviction that we have to find ways to work together and work with others. And President Biden has focused these first six months of his presidency on reinvigorating our alliances on a bilateral basis, reinvigorating our engagement in multilateral institutions. And across the board, Germany has been our strong partner.
I think we also agree that we have a responsibility, particularly in this moment, to demonstrate that democracies can deliver – deliver in the lives of our people, deliver for people around the world. And there again, the example that the chancellor has set, that Germany has set could not be stronger, and today is a very good example of that with the work that Germany has done on Libya and the hope of this moment to actually see Libya hopefully take a course of security, freedom, independence, backed by the international community.
There is indeed a lot to talk about from China to Russia to many other issues in between, but for today, Chancellor, let me just simply say again, thank you, and also to tell you again how much President Biden looks forward to seeing you in Washington next month.
CHANCELLOR MERKEL: Okay, danke schoen.