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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good afternoon, everyone.  It’s a real pleasure to welcome President Chakwera here to the State Department, to Washington.

We deeply appreciate the relationship, the partnership between the United States and Malawi, a remarkable democratic success story.  The strong leadership of the president, particularly in pursuing important reforms, sends a very strong message not only in Malawi and the continent, but around the world.  And we heard that as well through your participation in the Summit for Democracy at the end of last year.

But we greatly appreciate the partnership, across a number of issues, including global issues – Ukraine and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine right now – and look very much forward to talking about the work we’re doing to deepen the partnership between us as well as the work that we’re doing together around the world.

So, Mr. President, welcome.  It’s very, very good to have you and your team here.

PRESIDENT CHAKWERA:  Mr. Secretary, thank you so very much.  It is a great honor for me to be here today, and to be received in such a magnanimous way.

Our relations with the U.S. date back to our time of independence way back in 1964, so it has been a long story of real partnership, collaboration, and help.  And in recent times our democratic journey is maturing because of the partnership and encouragement from friends like you.  And our systems are strengthened, the judicial systems, even the civic space, that has been – even the government’s institutions even stronger – the rule of law we pursue, and then the fight against corruption that is being supported.

We feel like we are onto the path of real development.  We have carved out a vision for an inclusively wealthy, self-reliant nation by 2063, but then we divided it up and we have a plan for 10 years, and then recovery plans for three years because of the COVID thing, which has really devastated us.  Recently, climate change issues and Cyclone Ana has left a trail of devastation and death.  And then, of course, what is happening in Europe now is of great concern.

So all of these things, we count on our partners to help us with.  In SADC, we believe that we do need involvement in the context of peace.  And so, we are working to deal with issues of support.  They are issues of human trafficking, issues of child labor, issues that have affected us for years, and sometimes accepted as the norm.  And we want to say no to this.  We want to be able to develop in a way that says Malawians can have their dignity and their place in the sun, alongside other nations, because we have seen that collaboration is the way to go.  Multilateralism is the way to go.  We need to side with those who want justice, who want human rights.  And we find that the U.S. is a great friend.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  It is great to be with you, great to have you here.  Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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