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Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Papua New Guinean Prime Minister James Marape Before Their Meeting

PRIME MINISTER MARAPE:  Thank you all for coming by.  USA is a important partner to PNG.  We’ve stood shoulder to shoulder on many occasions even (inaudible) living memory 1945, right up until our independence in 1975, and even up to today you remain very much an important bilateral partner, a big part of our nation’s history.  That’s why across (inaudible) country we are here to get to develop our country to be better developed and not where we are today.  And we appreciate the help you have given us thus far and for you coming here representing your president, representing the great people of the United States of America.  We look forward to this historic meeting amongst ourselves.  More importantly, we bring our combined conversations into our Pacific Island leaders dialogue that is – that is organized for – to take place after our engagement is complete.

And welcome to Port Moseby and Papua New Guinea one more time.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Prime Minister, thank you so much.  And again, as I said before, we’re so grateful for not just your hospitality but your flexibility.  The President, again, asked me to extend his warmest greetings to you as well as his regret that he was not able to be here for the reasons that you know well. 

But we had the extraordinary, I think genuinely historic summit at the White House and throughout our government, and I think that was for him such an important and powerful moment that he wants to continue to build on. And in fact we’d like to invite you and all of your colleagues to a second summit in Washington this fall.  We will find the right time to do that.

But meanwhile, it was particularly important for me to be here at the President’s request and with your great hospitality, both to see you and all our colleagues from PNG but also to see colleagues from throughout the Pacific Islands region.  So I very much look forward to that conversation and pursuing the very important – more than dialogue, the very important work that we’re doing in Washington all together.

But like PNG, our own country is incredibly diverse in its population, I think we’re all optimistic in our outlook, we have a strong appreciation for the past.  And as you said, Prime Minister, we have a deep and rich shared history.  But I think your other point was even in a sense more important because it’s living history, and the work that we’re doing together to try to shape the future could not be more important, could not be more timely. 

I’m honored to join you for the signing of some very important agreements that we’ve been working on together for some time which we’ll have a chance to talk about later, but also just to deepen our own partnership across the board – something that we very much welcome.  So I look forward to this conversation, and again thank you for your hospitality today. 

Official news published at https://www.state.gov/secretary-antony-j-blinken-and-papua-new-guinean-prime-minister-james-marape-before-their-meeting/

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