SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, good afternoon, everyone. It is a real pleasure to have Foreign Minister Arriola here. Julio, welcome to the State Department. And I’m especially pleased because Paraguay is such a strong strategic partner for the United States, and we are standing together, speaking together, working together in defense of democracy, in defense of human rights, not only in our own hemisphere but quite literally around the world. And we’re grateful to be partners on the Human Rights Council with Paraguay and for all of the work that we’re doing together, again, around the world and throughout our hemisphere.
I’m very, very pleased that we have an opportunity now today to compare notes on the many challenges that we face but also on the work that we’re doing together. I’m also very glad to see that our USDA, Department of Agriculture, is moving forward on the next steps in the regulatory process to recertify Paraguayan beef for export. I think that will be an important development.
And more broadly, this is an important time in the world for strong democracies like our two countries to be working together, comparing notes, thinking together, and standing together, as the United States and Paraguay are. So Julio, welcome. It’s really very good to have you here.
FOREIGN MINISTER ARRIOLA: Thank you very much, Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Antony, I have to tell you that I really feel honored being here at the State Department. As you say before, and you couldn’t say better – I couldn’t say better – that we are strong allies. We are supporting – we have the same values and principles like democracy, human rights, and we are working together not only in our bilateral mission; we are talking about our regional associations in which we are part, like the OAS. And all the endeavors we have the same principles, same values, and we are working as well on the global – global issues as well. And as you say before, the entrance of Paraguayan beef to the American market will be something great for Paraguay that is a strong ally.
Thank you very much for hosting us today.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you, my friend. Good to have you. Thanks, everyone. Appreciate it.