SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good morning.  Great to see you, Marcelo.

FOREIGN SECRETARY EBRARD:  (Via interpreter) Thank you for being here today.  We have been expecting this meeting.  We are very happy to be able to host it through these new technologies that we are using nowadays.

We recognize the initiatives of President Biden.  We understand that these are being done in recognition to the Mexican community.  We are receiving them with empathy.  We are also very happy to see the coming back of the United States to the Paris Agreement and to the WHO.  We understand we will be tackling together common challenges and we plan to move forward with our concrete proposals, especially regarding North and Central America and our current situation.  So Antony and everyone else present here today, welcome to Mexico.  So with this, let’s begin our virtual visit.  Thank you so much.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Marcelo, colleagues, thank you so much for receiving me on this virtual visit, my first as Secretary of State.  I wanted to “visit,” in quotation marks, Mexico first to demonstrate the importance that we attach, President Biden attaches, to the relationship between our countries.  It’s hard to think of a more important relationship and two countries that are more in so many extraordinary ways intertwined and really do have a shared destiny that it falls upon us to help advance.

I really do wish we could have done this in person.  I’m very much looking forward to the opportunity when we can, and also to see you here.  I guess the benefits of doing the virtual visit are no jetlag; on the other hand, no frequent flyer miles either, so it’s a little bit of a tradeoff.  But I really am looking forward to the opportunity to travel to Mexico.  I’ve had many opportunities in the past to spend time in different parts of an extraordinary country, including when I was deputy secretary of state, but I’m looking forward to us being able to see each other in person both here and there.

But meanwhile, we do have a very important agenda for today, so I’m looking forward to getting into that and working together.  Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future