CHANCELLOR MERKEL:  (Via interpreter)  Good morning.  Good day, ladies and gentlemen.  I would like to bid a very warm welcome to the American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on his first visit to Germany, his first visit since he took office as foreign – as Secretary of State, because is not his first visit to Germany, I hasten to add, because he was already with us in the ’80s when he was part of American forces in Germany.

And that is, I think, ample illustration of the decades-long partnership and friendship between both our countries and peoples that we need more urgently these days than – in the 21st century than ever before.  The United States continue to be our closest partner outside Europe.

And we will have plenty of issues to discuss today, the Secretary of State and I.  The world is in unrest, indeed.  And first and foremost amongst the issues on our agenda today is undoubtedly going to be Iran.  How can we make sure that Iran doesn’t have any nuclear weapons?  How can we work to prevent further aggressive actions on the part of Iran?

And of course, we will also be talking about Afghanistan, I presume.  Both our countries have substantive numbers of troops on the ground.  And Syria is also going to be on our agenda today, as the situation is very fragile indeed.

To name two other issues that we will briefly touch upon, that is undoubtedly going to be our cooperation with Russia and also the future with Ukraine.  Presidential elections have just taken place in Ukraine.  Of course, we will also briefly touch on the issue of how we can cooperate to fight terrorism.

So you see, we have a whole host of issues on our agenda here today.  We only have 45 minutes.  We’ll make best use of that, of course, in the spirit of partnership and with every intention to continue the very close cooperation between both our countries and peoples.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Thank you.  Thank you, Chancellor Merkel for having me here today.  I truly appreciate it.  I’m looking forward to our conversation very, very much.  Germany is a great, important partner and ally of the United States.  That’s why I’m so happy to have this time today with Chancellor Merkel.  I had a good conversation with the foreign minister a bit earlier.

I won’t go through the issues.  I think Chancellor Merkel articulated them.  And indeed, I’ll be very brief so that we can use most of these 45 minutes for our substantive discussion.

Again, thank you for having me here today.  There is important work for our two countries to do, alongside our NATO partners and alongside all of our allies to achieve security for our own people and stability and peace in as much as the world as we possibly can.  So thank you for having me here today.

CHANCELLOR MERKEL:  Thank you.

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