Remarks With Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom Before Their Meeting

Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
January 29, 2015


SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning. Good morning, everybody. Very pleased to welcome the Foreign Minister of Sweden Margot Wallstrom, and very happy to have a strong partner visiting this morning in so many different respects. Sweden is helping on Ebola, standing the line on Ukraine, providing critical humanitarian assistance in our struggle in the Middle East with ISIS and Syria, and is a powerful supporter of the concept of a trade agreement – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – TTIP, as we call it, supportive of that. So we really appreciate the larger-than-size role that Sweden plays on so many different issues, and very, very much look forward to a conversation.

Particularly today, Ukraine is on all of our minds. We want to see the Minsk agreement upheld. We want the violence to end. We want to see the Russian direct support to the separatists – tanks, heavy weapons, rockets. This needs to stop, and all of us will be better off if we can find a way to de-escalate and implement the Minsk agreement. And Sweden has been a strong advocate and also one of those holding the line in Europe to make it clear that we are united in our support for the respect for the integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. So thank you, Madam Minister, for being here with us. I’m delighted to welcome you.

FOREIGN MINISTER WALLSTROM: Thank you very much for your warm welcome, Mr. Secretary, and we meet at a time when the world seems in peril and we have so many problems on our desks and as our responsibilities to deal with from Ebola (inaudible) to extremism and violence and war and conflict around the world. So we do have a long agenda to talk to – to talk about. And of course, today will be a very important meeting in the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, where Ukraine and Russia will be discussed. And it has not yet started, but we can only hope for the best, meaning that also we will stand united on these issues and we have the same goals and objectives. And we will also – I will also announce today – and I’m sure we will talk about that – an increased Swedish humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, because it’s a very difficult situation with winter and everything. So there is a long list of points to discuss today, and I’m very glad to be here.

SECRETARY KERRY: Happy to have you here.

FOREIGN MINISTER WALLSTROM: Thank you very much.