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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good afternoon, everyone.  It’s a pleasure to receive here at the State Department the director general of the IOM, Director General Vitorino.  Thank you for being here, but especially thank you for the extraordinary work that you and your entire team have been doing over what has been really an unprecedented movement of people around the globe, different parts of our world.

This is the 70th anniversary of the IOM.  We’re very proud, the United States, to have been a founding member of the IOM.  And I have to say especially with the recent evacuation and relocation efforts from Afghanistan, the IOM has played an absolutely critical role stepping up, stepping in – whether it was at Ramstein, Dulles Airport, working with UNICEF on unaccompanied children.  We’re so grateful for that work, grateful for the work that we’re doing together in this hemisphere given, here again, an unprecedented movement of people, and really throughout the globe.

So we have a lot to talk about, but I’m very glad to have you here today.

MR VITORINO:  Thank you so much, Mr. Secretary.  From my side, I just want to say how pleased I am to be here today.  You have mentioned the very recent cooperation in terms of the relocation of Afghans through our operation – joint operation, and I must say that it is a very good example of a very good understanding and cooperation between the State Department and U.S. Government in general and IOM.

But it’s not the only one.  We have quite a large number of issues on the table where we share the concerns about the humanitarian situation in the world, the need to bring peace and stability and to be – to do better in managing migration, whether in Central America, in Africa, or in the Middle East.

So Mr. Secretary, thank you for the U.S. support.  We appreciate very much.  It has been a longstanding support, and I’m sure it will go on for the future.  Thank you.


MR VITORINO:  Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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