December 8, 2021

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Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Raychelle Omamo Before Their Meeting

16 min read

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Washington, D.C.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon.  It is a real pleasure to receive Foreign Minister Omamo here at the White House – excuse me, at the State Department.  We’ll head to the White House later.  We had the wonderful opportunity to do a virtual visit that you hosted a few months ago, but there’s nothing like the real thing, so I’m really grateful to have you here.

We have a very important strategic partnership with Kenya.  We are working together across the continent and beyond, indeed, when you were on the UN Security Council working on global issues, working on regional issues.  We have a lot to talk about.  And of course, we’re very pleased to have been able to help with COVID and vaccines.  There are 1.7 million vaccines that are en route soon to Kenya.  But especially we are grateful for the strategic partnership that we have.  Much work to be done on the continent, on beyond, and I’m looking forward to getting down to work with you.

FOREIGN MINISTER OMAMO:  Yes, thank you very much.  Could I just express my gratitude and honor to be able to be visiting you today in person and in your office.  This is my first visit to the State Department as the minister of foreign affairs, and it gives us an opportunity really to reaffirm the deep and longstanding friendship we have between our two countries.

We work together on a variety of issues both nationally and regionally and globally.  We both believe in the same principles, the same values of democracy and the idea that there is hope in every person and that we can surmount our challenges through solidarity, through working together, and through moving forward, especially in the aftermath of COVID-19.

We thank you for the vaccine donation.  We thank you for standing with us throughout this difficult period and for emphasizing that there is still hope and that all countries can build back better.  We can build back better on our continent, and we can do so in partnership with friends.  So thank you so much.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Great to have you.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, has there been an agreement on the Kabul airport (inaudible)?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  We’re working on everything.  Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER OMAMO:  Thank you very much.

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