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September 20, 2023

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good afternoon, everyone.  And I just want to say at the top how much I appreciate the presence of my friends and my colleagues from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.  We’ve had a very productive session at the very outset of High-Level Week with the GCC, and this is now an opportunity to have some dedicated time together to delve a little bit deeper even into our shared commitment to advance peace in Yemen.  We are, in our judgment, in a moment of opportunity – opportunity to help the people of Yemen chart a path toward a durable peace and durable security.

And Faisal, if I could just say how grateful we are to you and to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the efforts that you’ve made to advance a dialogue with the Houthis.  And on behalf of President Biden, I want to express thanks to our partners for their sustained support and coordination not only working toward a durable peace for Yemenis but also on other regional priorities where we are very, very closely linked together.  I think our partnership has been critical as we tackle these many issues.

And I also heartily welcome the recent success of the emergency phase of the FSO Safer operation which averted what was potentially a catastrophic oil spill in the Red Sea that would have affected the entire region.  I think this was a major achievement that was only possible through a concerted and sustained international cooperation and in many ways serves as a model for how the international community can and should work together to prevent future crises before they occur.  Always better if we can get to them before they occur.

Finally, I just want to congratulate both our Saudi and Emirati partners on the finalization of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor.  We were all together at the G20, and I just want to thank them for their continued commitment to the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment.

So with that, we can actually get down to work.  Thank you.