Blinken Meets with Peru's FM González-Olaechea

Department of State

SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, good morning, everyone. And it's a distinct pleasure to have my friend, my colleague, the foreign minister of Peru here today with us at the State Department. We just had a wonderful moment where it was a great honor for the United States to be able to return to Peru some extraordinary documents dating to the 16th century that document the very first theater troupe in the Americas - quite remarkable. And thanks to very good work between our governments, we were able to return these documents to make sure that the extraordinary cultural heritage of Peru is further reinforced.

So thank you Mr. Minister, Javier, for this really wonderful moment. It shows the incredible, powerful connections between our countries, our hemisphere that goes back so many years, so many centuries, but is - continues to have powerful expression in the present. So I thank you for that. And I really want to thank the - in particular, our colleagues from the FBI, from the Justice Department for the many years of efforts that went into recovering what were stolen documents and now being able to return them to where they rightfully belong to Peru and in Peru.

This is an important year in the relationship between our countries. We're celebrating 15 years of our free trade agreement. Peru, of course, is hosting APEC, a very significant undertaking, and President Biden looks forward to that. In a couple of months' time - in May - we will hold our formal high-level dialogue and the agenda is extremely important, particularly when it comes to economic and security issues, which we'll be - also be discussing today. And, of course, Peru is a very valued member of the Americas Partnership.

The bottom line is there are many opportunities that we seek to advance between the United States and Peru: the work that we're doing together on security, on democracy, on economic cooperation and inclusive growth. In all these areas and many more, we're joined as partners, and I really welcome the opportunity today with the foreign minister to pursue our conversations, to pursue our work in the spirit of deepening the partnership between our countries.

Javier, the floor is yours.

FOREIGN MINISTER GONZÁLEZ-OLAECHEA: (Via interpreter) A very good morning to you, Mr. Secretary of State, dear friend, Antony. First of all, on behalf of the Peruvian Government I would like to say to you that we are deeply appreciative for this demonstration of friendship shown by gifting us in practice - by returning this historic document with the help of the FBI and the Department of Justice. This simply underscores the work the U.S. does with friendly countries. This will be guarded in the most appropriate way possible in Peru once the document arrives back in Lima.

And I would also like to thank you, Antony, for this third conversation that we're having. The first one was in San Francisco officially. The second was at the table, where you were so kind as to invite me, and now for the third time in this wonderful room. I would like to thank you here for your cooperation, for our honest relationship, and for the dialogue that has been ongoing with Brian, who is a friend to Peru. Sometimes we don't always agree, but the important thing is that we do share the same values and the same feelings, and I say this truly from the heart.

This year obviously is a year of common challenges. We are waiting for confirmation of the President's visit, which would be a wonderful opportunity to open our arms and offer everything that Peru can offer to leadership, leadership that you as Secretary - I believe you spend 80 hours a day on this in tackling the challenges that humankind is currently facing.

And on this issue specifically, I wanted to highlight in this meeting the fact that we completely share your concern regarding Ukraine, regarding the crimes and the terrorism - not to use another word for it - that is being perpetrated in the Middle East. And I'll take this time also to tell you that when I received the visit of our Israeli colleague in December, understanding perfectly well the reactions that had been seen, we said that our traditional, historic, and professional diplomacy could be a part of the solution, and we offered every capacity that our ministry has to offer so that the day after, when he thought there would be a group of friendly countries, that he could consider that Peru, although it is not so involved in that area, could have a role to play in support and facilitation. And I wanted you to know that directly.

There are other concerns as well. I had mentioned to you in San Francisco what is happening in Venezuela. And on this point, what is happening in Venezuela, I shared this concern at that organization that was created without the United States, which is ECLAC. And I said specifically to Foreign Minister Mauro from Brazil, our friend, that they needed to be a part of the solution as well. We do not want countries in the region to act against democracy. I know that the press is here, but what I say privately I say publicly. And I think it is good for that to be known. That is how this friendly foreign minister acts.

SECRETARY BLINKEN: Gracias. Thanks, everyone.

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