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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, Secretary-General Guterres, Antonio, it’s wonderful to be with you even virtually.  And Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield, wonderful to see you as well.  I think this is our third exchange, Mr. Secretary-General, in the two months that I’ve been Secretary of State, and it reflects a basic reality, which is the United Nations is the anchor of the multilateral system.  And that multilateral system is vitally important to the United States.

When we think about virtually all of the problems and challenges that are actually going to affect the lives – are affecting the lives – of our citizens, whether it’s COVID-19, whether it’s climate, whether it is the disruption of emerging technologies, not a single one can be dealt with by any one country acting alone, even the United States.  We need to find ways to cooperate, to coordinate, to tackle problems together.  And of course, the United Nations is where countries come together to work on common challenges.

And so we have a profound stake in its success, in engaging in the UN, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.  You’ve heard President Biden talk about his commitment to multilateralism.  As you’ve noted already, we’ve put that commitment into practice from day one, whether it was rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, re-engaging the World Health Organization, the Human Rights Council, the list goes on.

I’ve very much appreciated your own leadership on these issues and in dealing with many of the crises and challenges that we face around the world, from Ethiopia to Burma.  We have a broad, broad agenda.  I think you’ve got one of the toughest jobs in the world, but we’re grateful that you’re doing it and grateful to have the United Nations as a strong partner in our efforts.

So with that, I’m very much looking forward to the conversation today and to trying to cover a lot of ground.  I think we’ll let our colleagues from the press leave the room, and then we can get down to work.

Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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