SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon.  I am very pleased to have Foreign Minister Kamilov here today.  We’ve spoken several times on the phone and by videoconference, but it’s very good to actually have you here in person.

A lot of good and important work being done this week on the vital relationship between the United States and Uzbekistan.  We have strong shared interests when it comes to security in the region, particularly with regard to Afghanistan.  Uzbekistan has been a leader in bringing countries in the region together, particularly with regard to economic and infrastructure connectivity, something else that we’ll talk about, as well as the bilateral relationship between our countries.

So welcome.  It’s very good to have you here.

FOREIGN MINISTER KAMILOV:  Thank you, Mr. Secretary.  First of all, I’d like to thank Mr. Secretary, Secretary Blinken, for inviting our interagency delegation of the Republic of Uzbekistan.  We have a broad agenda during this visit, and we are going to exchange views on the state and the future of our bilateral relations, as well as we will pay serious attention to the situation in the region, in Central Asia.

And a lot has been changing in the world and in the region, and that’s why, as Mr. Secretary said, of course, we will exchange views on the situation in Afghanistan, too.  And we have a lot of issues, a lot to speak about, and that’s why I’d like once again to thank the American friends we invite throughout the region.  Thank you very much.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.

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