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Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Algerian Foreign Minister Ahmed Attaf Before Their Meeting

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good morning.  It’s a great pleasure to have Foreign Minister Attaf here today – a very experienced colleague that I’m very pleased to have a chance to spend some time with this morning.

The relationship between Algeria and the United States goes back many, many years – to 1795, in fact.  And it’s a partnership that has grown stronger in recent years; we have the ambition to make it stronger still.  We have important security ties, economic ties, people-to-people ties – all of which we believe we can strengthen even further.  And a lot of shared interests, particularly when it comes to dealing with terrorism, and also advancing peace and security in the broad region and particularly, of course, in the Sahel.  I’m very much looking forward to discussing all of that with the foreign minister, as well as Algeria’s ascendence to the United Nations Security Council next year, where we look forward to collaborating very closely together.

Mr. Minister, welcome.  Very good to have you.

FOREIGN MINISTER ATTAF:  Thank you.  Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary of State for your invitation that gives me the opportunity to be back to the State Department.  A generation ago I was here meeting Secretary – late Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.  And what I can say is that since then the relations between our two countries, between Algeria and the United States, have gone long way ahead fulfilling the promises that we envisaged together.  I can safely say that our political dialogue is in very good shape, that our economic relationship are increasing very much (inaudible).  And we are here today to see what we can do more to fulfill these – the remaining promises.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER ATTAF:  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thanks everyone.

FOREIGN MINISTER ATTAF:  Thank you very much.

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