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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good afternoon, everyone.  It’s a great pleasure to welcome Foreign Minister Kasoulides here to the State Department – familiar territory.  The foreign minister is just recently on the job, but for the third time.  I can’t even begin to imagine (inaudible).  (Laughter.)

But we’re so, so pleased to have you and especially so pleased by the relationship between the United States and Cyprus.  I think the bilateral relationship is stronger than it’s ever been.  We’re seeing cooperation in a whole variety of areas, to include security but also to include science and technology.  It really runs the gamut.  We remain resolutely in support of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, and we will continue to work in that direction.  And I have to say we were pleased by the renewal of the mandate at the United Nations just a week ago.

But we have a lot to talk about, and I think it’s really a reflection of the fact that on so many different levels this relationship has gotten broader but also deeper.  And it’s wonderful to have you here, Mr. Minister.

FOREIGN MINISTER KASOULIDES:  Thank you,  Mr. Secretary.  And it is my intention to use this meeting to find and explore areas – to find and explore areas where we can make the relationship even stronger and even deeper.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  I welcome that.  Thank you.  Thank you, everyone.

U.S. Department of State

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