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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good morning everyone.  It is wonderful to see so many friends and colleagues here this morning.  I just want to thank everyone for coming.  

Just a couple months ago, the President outlined in the Middle East, in Jeddah, the enduring importance of the Middle East to the United States.  We are working together to solve shared regional and global challenges.  We’re trying to bring enduring peace to Yemen, to dealing with the challenges posed by Iran, to grappling with food insecurity, among many, many other issues.   

As you heard the President say, the United States is invested and committed to our partnerships and to our friendships.  I think this morning is further evidence of that.  We have a broad and deep agenda, and we’ll probably just scratch the surface of the many things that we’re working on together.  But it’s very important that we do so, and I’m grateful to all our colleagues for being here. 

Thank you very much.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future