SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good morning, everyone.

PARTICIPANT:  Good morning, sir.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  It’s good to see you all.  It’s particularly good to see the foreign minister.  This is our first opportunity to meet face-to-face.  We’ve spoken on the phone.  We are very pleased to be working with the foreign minister, with a new government in Pakistan.

We’re both here, of course, first and foremost for the ministerial meeting we’re having a little bit later today on food security.  This is a challenge that we’re seeing around the world.  There was a pre-existing condition, as it were, when it comes to food insecurity in many places.  It’s been exacerbated dramatically by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, adding another 40 million people to those who are food insecure.

So we’re coming together and I’m grateful for Pakistan’s participation and engagement on this to look at concrete steps we can take to address the food insecurity issues, to help people in need around the world.  But beyond that, this is an important opportunity for us to talk about the many issues where we’re working together.  We want to focus on the work we’re doing to strengthen our economic and commercial ties between the United States and Pakistan; of course, focus on regional security.  And Pakistan is now in the chairmanship of the G77 and the United States is looking forward to strengthening our own relations and dialogue and communication with the G77.  I look very much forward to speaking to the foreign minister about that.

But in short, welcome to New York.  It’s very good to have you here, very good to be with you at the United Nations.

FOREIGN MINISTER ZARDARI:  Thank you so much, Secretary Blinken.  It is such a pleasure to be here at the United Nations, and where I really look forward to engaging on this series of events on global food security.  We are aware that recent geopolitical events have indeed aggravated the situation, and countries like Pakistan have already been facing challenges in food security, water security, energy insecurity because of a whole host of issues ranging from climate change to issues in our neighborhood.  So this particular initiative is most welcome and most important.

I also look forward to the opportunity to increasing engagement between Pakistan and the United States, working with yourself and your administration to improve trade relations between Pakistan and the United States and create opportunities for American investors, and Pakistani investors, and Pakistani businessmen, and American entrepreneurs to work together.  And I really look forward to working with you on both these issues.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Great to have you here.  Thanks, everyone.

FOREIGN MINISTER ZARDARI:  Thank you so much, everybody.  Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future