Remarks With Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders After Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Egmont Palace
Brussels, Belgium
April 24, 2013


SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we – as the Foreign Minister said, we had a very, very expansive conversation, and it began and begins with both of our gratitude for the great relationship between the United States and Belgium. We’re very, very appreciative. We cooperate – excuse me – we cooperate on so many different issues and we’re very, very appreciative of the good relationship.

We talked a lot about trade and the importance of being able to move forward on the trade negotiations, because both of our economies will benefit enormously, provide jobs for our workers, for our countries, and frankly, will lift both Europe and the United States. Europe is the largest market in the world. The United States is the largest economy by itself. So together, we represent an enormous ability to have an impact on standards, standards for workers, standards for products, for communication, and that’s important.

We also talked about, as the Minister said, terrorism, the challenges of a place like the Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, the struggles. We are committed, all of us, to protect our citizens and to do the best job we can to reduce the capacity for terror in the world. And that will come not just with strong security; it will come with strong relationships that we build outside of the military but within our societies, so that young people have an opportunity looking forward to the future. And I think there are many things we can do to cooperate, and we’re going to work on those, including on the Middle East peace process.

QUESTION: Sir, with the problem we have that young people go to Syria (inaudible), does that matter also to the U.S., do you have the same problem?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, of course we have the same problem. We just had a young person who went to Russia, Chechnya, who blew people up in Boston. So he didn’t stay where he went, but he learned something where he went and he came back with a willingness to kill people.

I think the world has had enough of people who have no belief system, no policy for jobs, no policy for education, no policy for rule of law, but who just want to kill people because they don’t like what they see. There’s not room for that. That’s what we’ve been fighting against after all of the wars of the 20th century. Now we’re in the 21st century, and it’s time for a different organizational principle. And we need to, all of us, do a better job of communicating to people what the options of life are. And we’re open. Democracies are open to people participating in the democracy, not killing people. And so I hope that we can all figure out how we translate these better opportunities more effectively in our politics.

QUESTION: What do you expect from Belgium?

SECRETARY KERRY: Just continued friendship and a chance for me to come and visit more often. (Laughter.)

FOREIGN MINISTER REYNDERS: Stay with you some days in Brussels.

QUESTION: Can we –


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PRN: 2013/T04-11