SECRETARY BLINKEN: Good afternoon, everyone. It’s a pleasure to welcome Foreign Minister Browne here. Amery, welcome. Good to have you at the State Department and very glad especially for this opportunity to continue to deepen the already strong bilateral relationship between Trinidad and Tobago and the United States.
We are working together in so many ways every day in our own hemisphere, working to continue to strengthen democracy, to forge ahead on building even greater economic prosperity, working on challenges of regional security. Of course, we have deep connections between our people. There are more than 10,000 Americans visiting Trinidad and Tobago every year for tourism, for business, and we want to see that increase. We have a very vibrant diaspora here in the United States which we very much welcome.
But we’ve also done a lot of work together particularly building off of the President and Vice President’s, I think, very important and in some ways even historic meeting with the CARICOM countries during the – during our summit in Los Angeles. And what we were really instructed to do by the President and Vice President following that meeting was to actually follow up and to make good on the important discussion but also on the important initiatives that came out of that meeting, and this is a good opportunity to do that.
So Amery, welcome. Very good to have you here.
FOREIGN MINISTER BROWNE: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary of State, Tony, for your warm welcome. It’s a pleasure to meet with you here at the Jefferson Room and to meet with your team. As you know, Ambassador Bond has settled magnificently in Port of Spain, and I am pleased to be joined by our ambassador to Washington, D.C., a very distinguished member of our foreign service.
It’s great to be here and I’m looking forward to our discussions and to working with you to further cement a well-established and productive, fruitful relationship between Trinidad and Tobago and the United States of America. You’re right; we’ve been working closely on a number of critical issues. Some of the priorities for the Caribbean community are shared with the United States of America – energy security, food security, improving our access to financing for development, and recognizing that the United States and Trinidad and Tobago go back hundreds of years. And we share a significant diaspora, but we also share principles in common – respect for democracy, a desire for peace in our region, and to see countries working more closely together.
So I’m looking forward to our discussions and to putting the commitment established at the recent Summit of the Americas further to action and to ensure that our countries can be – continue to be very close collaborators. So thank you very much.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thanks, everyone. Appreciate it.