Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
Zbigniew Rau, Polish Foreign Minister
Thomas Jefferson Room
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, good morning, everyone. It’s a great pleasure to have my friend, the Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, here in Washington at the State Department, and the timing could not be better in the sense that we have an extremely productive already Strategic Dialogue underway – long scheduled, long time – but of course, we’re also here at a time of real concern for European security because of Russia’s aggressive posture toward Ukraine.
Poland’s partnership, its leadership now of the OSCE, and the work we have done together over these many weeks to make clear to Russia that there are two paths before it: one of dialogue and diplomacy to resolve mutual concerns about security, or the path of aggression and massive consequences for Russia if it chooses that path – we have built these out together in absolute solidarity. We have in many conversations over these past weeks and months, directly together but also with our colleagues from the – from NATO and the EU, made very clear that we are acting as one. We strongly prefer that Russia choose the path of diplomacy and dialogue, but if it does not, we are fully prepared for the alternative.
So we have a lot to talk about today and, again, in the context of Poland’s OSCE chairmanship. That’s a vital forum for Europe’s security and for continuing to look at ways to strengthen that security. If Russia engages in that arena, that can also, I think, be productive for everyone, but it has to decide whether to do that or not.
But in any event, Zbigniew, it’s very good to have you here. Thank you for being here and I look forward to our conversation.
FOREIGN MINISTER RAU: Thank you very much. Tony, I am very happy that we can continue our dialogue. I am here in the dual capacity as the Polish foreign minister and as the chairman-in-office of the OSCE. Indeed, from these two perspectives, we have many things to discuss, and what concerns both of us is the extraordinarily difficult situation in and around Ukraine. And this is the focus of my attention as the chairman-in-office of the OSCE but also as the foreign minister of a trusted ally of the United States.
So the common denominator of these two hats or perspective is that Poland and the U.S. shares the same values. Our interests are very close, therefore our perspective of the crisis are very, very similar too. And I must say that what is very important in our dialogue, in our meeting today is really the Strategic Dialogue that has just been relaunched – or this session of Strategic Dialogue between our two countries has been relaunched, and a long-overdue session is taking place, as the Secretary has just indicated – that we enjoy a very fruitful discussion concerning security issues, but also the economic cooperation, and so on and so on. So these are the things that bring – has brought us together for decades.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you. Thank you very much.