Secretary Antony J. Blinken with Thomas Sotto of France 2 & More Trending News

 

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QUESTION:  Good afternoon, Antony Blinken.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon.

QUESTION:  Thank you for giving somewhat bit of your time, which I do know could be very treasured, for Télématin and for the viewers of France 2.  Thank you additionally for doing this interview in French, which is a language you grasp completely.  You lived in Paris for a few years.

Emmanuel Macron is on a state go to right here within the United States, a heat state go to.  Yet, in the event you look within the rearview mirror during the last 20 years, the connection between our two nations has not at all times been easy. There have been disagreements on Iraq, there have been disagreements on Syria, on the local weather disaster throughout Donald Trump’s time, on the Australian submarine contracts that you’ve considerably stolen, it should be mentioned.  How would you characterize the connection between our two nations at present?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Quite frankly, wonderful.  And that’s largely as a result of we don’t look within the rearview mirror.  We’re wanting straight forward, and we each see that we’ve got a deep curiosity in doing what we’ve been doing for years, which is working collectively on points that affect the lives of our residents.

Neither France nor the United States has the capability, alone, to behave successfully on these points, whether or not it’s local weather, whether or not it’s world well being, whether or not it’s all the brand new applied sciences, the mandatory investments in infrastructure – on all these ranges, we each have to work collectively.

QUESTION:  There is a subject that’s variety of upsetting individuals in regards to the financial system, in the mean time.  It is claimed that you’re very protectionist, and Emmanuel Macron mentioned: it’s a alternative that dangers fragmenting the West.  Is there a approach to negotiate on this or not?  On the Act on inflation…

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  There was an excellent dialog between the presidents at present on this concern. We have the identical targets. We each must face the local weather problem. To do this, one of the issues we have to do is spend money on new applied sciences and power that’s conducive to dealing with this problem. We need to do it in a means that creates jobs, however not solely jobs –

QUESTION:  You need to create jobs and appeal to everybody within the United States?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Exactly, we agree that we have to do it in a means that creates jobs right here, sure, however jobs in Europe; jobs right here, however not on the expense of what’s taking place in Europe.  And the 2 presidents have agreed to work with the European Union to synchronize our approaches.

QUESTION:  Our two nations, France and the United States, are very concerned within the battle in Ukraine within the face of Russian aggression.  Just this week, you introduced $400 million in American assist to the Ukrainians.  It’s been greater than 9 months now since this battle began.  Do you see a means out of it, Antony Blinken?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  I wish to, however it relies upon solely on choices made by Moscow, by President Putin.  This battle may finish tomorrow if Putin stops.  In a way, it’s quite simple: he should cease what he began.  But, other than that, what is required – each presidents are in full settlement, is to proceed our help for Ukraine, for the Ukrainian individuals, each in phrases of financial and humanitarian safety.

But of course, what’s Putin doing proper now?  Even although he typically says he’s prepared for diplomacy, he’s attacking the civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.

QUESTION:  He’s taking part in the chilly card.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  He’s taking part in the chilly card.  He’s weaponizing winter.

QUESTION:  So, Antony Blinken, do you assume it’s time for Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky to speak?  Has this time come?  Has the time for dialogue and direct dialog come?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  If we noticed Putin was severe about diplomacy and dialogue, sure. The downside is, he’s doing simply the other.  He’s inciting now to escalate issues.

QUESTION:  So, dialogue is unimaginable at present?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  If there’s a seriousness on the Russian facet, dialogue is at all times potential. We’re at all times open to that.  Zelensky, the president, has made it clear that on the finish of the sport, there’s going to must be negotiation, diplomacy.  We assume precisely the identical factor.  Moreover, President Zelensky has put ahead a plan to result in an finish to the battle. For the second, Putin will not be on board. It relies on him.

QUESTION:  Do you continue to have contacts? Do you may have contacts with Russia and with the Russians, which aren’t essentially official?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Yes, we’ve got contacts.  We have contacts, particularly if there are necessary moments when we’ve got to speak.  For instance, there was contact with Russia as a result of there was a concern that they may use a nuclear weapon, which might be catastrophic for…

QUESTION:  Is {that a} concern for you?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  It’s a concern. I wouldn’t say we haven’t seen a selected motion on that, however it’s nonetheless a concern in an emergency for them, precisely.

QUESTION:  You don’t rule it out, do you?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  We’re not ruling it out, however extra importantly, it’s not simply us.  You even have Xi Jinping in China who has made statements on this. Other leaders who’ve made, who’ve mentioned very clearly to Putin, don’t go there.

QUESTION:  Are you involved that this might result in a 3rd world battle, or are we taking part in scare techniques?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  No, for President Biden, it’s essential that we keep away from increasing the battle.  On the opposite, we need to deliver it to an finish, however above all, we don’t need to broaden it.  We don’t need a battle with Russia.  We are not looking for a 3rd world battle.  That’s not what we wish in any respect.  On the opposite hand, what we want for peace: it should not be solely on paper, the peace, however it should be truthful, so with the ideas of the UN constitution.  And it should be sustainable, as a result of, in a way, there isn’t any level in making a false peace that will likely be rejected in a short time and Russia goes to battle once more.  What we’ve got to keep away from, for instance, is the concept that we freeze issues in place.  Russia on this context won’t ever negotiate the territories that have been taken by pressure.

QUESTION:  What is the scope? We have to return to the pre-February 24 borders and even Crimea?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  That’s Ukraine’s resolution.

QUESTION:  Okay.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  We don’t make choices for Ukraine. We’re going to help Ukraine’s choices.

QUESTION:  Let’s think about, Antony Blinken, that this battle lastly ends tomorrow. Would Vladimir Putin mechanically turn into an interlocutor for the United States once more?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Uh, actually, I can’t speculate.  What he’s executed could be very troublesome for everybody to digest.  The most necessary factor now’s to finish this battle, however in a good and lasting means. After that, we’ll see.

QUESTION:  Do you concern that the post-Putin period will likely be even worse than Putin?  I’m pondering particularly of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the formidable founder of the Wagner militia.  Does that fear you?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  You know that for us… What’s necessary will not be the personalities, it’s the coverage that Russia will comply with. So, having, you understand — and President Biden mentioned it earlier, President Putin has miscalculated very badly on Ukraine.  Everything he tried to keep away from, he precipitated.  In the West, we’re not divided.  On the opposite, we’re united and unified.  Ukraine is extra united than ever.  What we see in Russia is catastrophic for Russia. More than one million Russians have left.  It could also be good for Putin as a result of it’s the very individuals who is likely to be against him, however it’s catastrophic for Russia and for its future.

QUESTION:  There are additionally demonstrations in China in response to Xi Jiping’s authoritarian insurance policies beneath the guise of combating Covid.  Does that make you content within the title of democratic values or does it fear you?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  You know, the truth that individuals are demonstrating, that they’re attempting to precise their frustrations, clearly we help that, whether or not it’s in China, whether or not it’s in Iran, whether or not it’s wherever you need.

QUESTION:  You help the protesters.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  We help their freedom to precise themselves and to point out their frustrations. At the identical time, if there’s a disaster, if there’s a downside with Covid in China, we’re not comfortable in any respect.  On the opposite, for us, it could be an excellent factor if China may discover a approach to deal with this downside, each for the Chinese individuals, but additionally for everybody.

QUESTION:  But do you assume that this unrest, these demonstrations that we’re not used to, can rock the regime?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  I can’t make a prediction.  Is it — for us, what we need to see is: what are the wishes of the Chinese individuals, and have they got the capability to precise their wishes?  Does the political system have the capability to reply to the desires of the Chinese individuals?

QUESTION:  You may help the desires of the Chinese individuals?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Of course. But what we should take a look at is what’s the path that China will take within the face of Covid, and we wish China to achieve success as a result of it’s dangerous not just for the Chinese individuals, it’s dangerous for everyone – the worldwide financial system.  There are penalties for the worldwide financial system when China shuts down.

QUESTION:  You have a visit deliberate there in January, in a month.  Is that journey nonetheless on?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Yes, we’re going to China early subsequent yr. Whether it’s January or February, we’re undecided but, however it’s primarily based on a dialog that President Biden had with President Xi Jinping on the G20 a couple of weeks in the past.

QUESTION:  And then there’s Iran, which has additionally been in a state of revolt for the previous few weeks, for the reason that loss of life in September of Mahsa Amini, the younger girl who was arrested by the morality police and finally killed. Men at the moment are beginning to be part of protest actions there.  And then, there was that picture you need to have seen, of the Iranian soccer staff refusing to sing the Iranian anthem within the first video games in help of the protesters.  What does that picture imply to you, Antony Blinken?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  I’m impressed primarily by the truth that, for the reason that loss of life of Mahsa Amini, we’ve got seen this extraordinary demonstration of the need of the Iranian individuals to precise themselves, led by girls, led by younger individuals.  This too is one thing we help.

But we should be very clear on this.  The topic will not be us, the United States.  It’s not the West. France will not be the topic.  It’s the Iranian individuals and it’s their need to have the ability to categorical themselves freely, and that’s what we help.  Moreover, we try to –

QUESTION:  Would you say that Iran, the Iranian regime, is a risk to the world or to the equilibrium of the world at present?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  What we’re seeing, each within the area itself after which even past that, as a result of we’re seeing for instance [inaudible] of armaments to Russia for aggression in Ukraine –

QUESTION:  Iran is supporting Russia.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Iran will not be solely supporting, however supporting with drones which are killing Ukrainian civilians, as we communicate – and attempting to destroy their infrastructure.  So, it’s a risk in that sense.  It is a risk within the area, supporting terrorist teams, supporting teams that destabilize nations.  So, I believe that right here too, France and the United States are in full settlement on the necessity to face this problem, however clearly –

QUESTION:  Could there be a joint response at some point?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  There are already joint responses.  We have labored collectively.  We nonetheless do on the nuclear concern.

QUESTION:  Yes.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  We are in full settlement.

QUESTION:  A navy response?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  And we’re additionally engaged on how one can deal with the safety problem posed by Iran.

QUESTION:  All these individuals, these populations, the Iranians, the Chinese, we may add those that struggle for the protection of human rights in Qatar, they want social networks to precise themselves.  Is Elon Musk’s Twitter working for you?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  We must see what the details are. Again, it’s not about an individual, it’s about –

QUESTION:  We’re beginning to see, although –

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  We’ll see within the weeks and months to return.  This is clearly a vital platform worldwide.  We hope that this platform is an area the place individuals can categorical themselves however not with false data, disinformation.

QUESTION:  He must apply the European guidelines on content material moderation, in any other case Twitter may even be banned in Europe.  That’s what the European Commission mentioned at present.  Are you on the identical web page?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  For us, it’s necessary to do all the pieces potential to keep up the free trade of expression and data.  It’s the primary modification.  We take that very severely, however we’ve got to deal with this downside that we each face: how one can deal with areas the place misinformation wins the sport.

QUESTION:  You have two Twitter accounts, one is your Secretary of State account and the opposite one, private.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Yes.

QUESTION:  Did you pay, will you pay the eight euros for the subscription charge or not?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  (Laughs) I’m going to ask my employees in the event that they paid for — uh — with the State Department.  We’ll see how.

QUESTION:  We’re going to remain within the United States.  How is your President Joe Biden actually doing?  Because there’s some concern that he’s drained, somewhat bit absent, somewhat bit disconnected.  Is there somewhat bit of concern there, or not?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  (Laughs) I’ve a tough time maintaining with him as a result of he’s at all times ten steps forward of me, each bodily, but additionally in phrases of concepts.  He has not solely – how may I say it – an unlimited quantity of bodily power, but additionally an unlimited quantity of mental power.

QUESTION:  So, you’re not nervous.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Not in any respect, quite the opposite.  My solely concern is having the ability to sustain with him, myself.

QUESTION:  All proper, then.  Let’s discuss you.  You’re 60 years previous.  You’re younger.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Yes.

QUESTION:  You’ve been in all probably the most strategic positions within the United States for over 20 years.  When you shave within the morning, do you ever take into consideration the presidency of the United States?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  (Laughs) Oh, under no circumstances!

QUESTION:  Never?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  No.  You know, I’m extremely fortunate to have the ability to do that job.

QUESTION:  Yes.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  I’ve spent nearly 30 years in international coverage.  So, to have the ability to have the chance for a couple of years to do that job, and particularly right here on the State Department the place I began, nearly 30 years in the past, for me, it’s actually all I may have wished.

QUESTION:  We’re coming to the top of this interview, Antony Blinken. Seen from Europe, we typically have the impression that we’re on the finish of a world, with the wars we’ve got talked about; the environmental alert that appears an increasing number of irreversible; with the set again of basic rights that additionally issues you; with the set again of the proper to an abortion.  How do you handle to stay optimistic?  How do you handle to maintain the religion?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  It’s true that it is a interval, an inflection level, the place the world we knew, the post-Cold War world, is over.  And there’s a competitors to outline who will comply with and what is going to comply with.

QUESTION:  Are you nervous about your youngsters?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  What provides me hope, I’ll let you know, is exactly what occurred at present with France, with our allies, as a result of the problem for President Biden was to resume our alliances, to energise our partnerships, exactly as a result of we’re satisfied that, on all these points, we have to work collectively.  We want to search out cooperation, and we have to show that democracies can ship. This is exactly what we’re doing with France.

QUESTION:  For my final query, let’s return to soccer, the World Cup.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  (Laughs)

QUESTION:  You have a double tradition, American and in addition French.  Really, who do you help?  The United States or les Bleus?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  I help the U.S. staff, however –

QUESTION:  Ah!

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  If the U.S. staff doesn’t make it, and if France continues to be within the sport, Allez les Bleus!

QUESTION:  Ah, superb!  Thank you very a lot, Antony Blinken, for giving us somewhat bit of your time.  Thank you very a lot.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.

Secretary Antony J. Blinken with Thomas Sotto of France 2

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