SECRETARY BLINKEN: Mr. President, thank you so much for kicking off the Summit for Democracy and pushing us to consider how we can strengthen our democracies to meet the challenges before us in this new century.
As the President mentioned, we’ve been very much looking forward to today’s discussion, the work that’s going to follow from it, on how democracies can deliver better for our people. And as the President said and as I think we all know, our democracies are facing growing challenges around the world – from within and from without. Decreasing citizen trust in government, threats to democratic institutions – we’ve seen a democratic recession in recent years. And these are not challenges to be taken lightly. We have a lot of work to do.
But that’s exactly why we’re here today. While each one of our countries faces real challenges, we also know that democracy remains the most effective way to tackle those challenges and to advance human dignity. From engagements with civil society to reforms to strengthen democratic institutions, we have an immense opportunity today to learn from each other’s experiences. And that’s really one of the driving ideas behind this gathering.
So we will now begin a closed-door session. I’d respectfully request our friends from the media to leave the room as we get started on that.