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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good morning, everyone.  It is really a pleasure to be with my friends and colleagues from Panama, from Costa Rica, from the Dominican Republic, and to be here to meet with the Alliance for Development in Democracy.  That alliance is a powerful commitment and an inspiring commitment to strengthening democracies throughout the region, to private sector-led growth and economic development, and to partnership.  And this is what we so appreciate, all of our countries and your countries working together to advance the things that we believe in and to try to improve the lives of our fellow citizens.

So I’m grateful to have all three of my friends and colleagues here.  Also grateful for the strong support that you’ve shown for Ukraine in this very, very difficult moment, faced with the unprovoked aggression from Russia.  It’s important that the international community speak out clearly with one voice, a strong voice, and I very much appreciate our colleagues doing that.

So thank you and welcome.

FOREIGN MINISTER SOLANO:  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. Secretary.  For us it’s very important to be here.  Democracy, human rights, and freedom of press and speech is under attack worldwide and in our region.  Today our four countries are committed to strengthen democracy, to promote human rights, and to defend freedom of press and speech.  And in these tough moments for humanity, our four countries together need to protect those people who are suffering in these moments and to support the international community to face these challenges.

So thank you so much for having us, and thank you so much because this is a clear demonstration that four nations can work together for a bright future for our people.

FOREIGN MINISTER ÁLVAREZ:  Thank you, Secretary Blinken, on behalf of President Luis Abinader and our colleagues for this invitation.  We are here today, as you say, as members of the Alliance for Development in Democracy because of our longstanding shared values with the United States, and we are here to try to strengthen and deepen that longstanding relationship in more meaningful ways.  We stand together because we know that today that democracy cannot be taken for granted.  Given our shared values, democratic values and respect for human rights, we must strive to find creative ways to come out of this very difficult moment together as winners.  We firmly believe, as President Biden said last night, that freedom will triumph over tyranny.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you very much, Roberto.


FOREIGN MINISTER MOUYNES:  Thank you.  As my colleagues mentioned, this is a unique opportunity.  It’s a unique opportunity to stand up for what believe, for the common values that we share, and to clarify for everybody that democracy can deliver and does deliver results, and that idea in moments like this, it’s more important than ever to stand up with action.  So it’s not only to be there, but actually to show up to the table and take the necessary steps to show what you believe for and be the example for the region.

So I think the alliance is trying, and in the few months that we have developed this coordinated work, we’ve already accomplished much.  So an interesting time to be together, to be here, and we’re grateful that with what – everything that is happening, we recognize the importance of, regionally, to stand united and champion democracy.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Thank you all.

U.S. Department of State

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