SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good afternoon.  It’s a real pleasure to welcome our colleagues from Palau, from Micronesia, from the Marshall Islands.  We’ve had a, I think, very, very invigorating couple of days working with all of our colleagues from the Pacific Islands, but it’s particularly good to be here with our colleagues as we are working on the important compacts that I think we’ve made tremendously good progress on, and we’re really grateful for that.

These compacts of free association really go to the heart of our collective security, our collective prosperity, and they build on decades and decades of friendship, of collaboration, people-to-people ties.  But the compacts that we’ve been negotiating I think so effectively really take us into a new era, and I’m grateful to the presidents, the foreign minister for the terrific work that we’ve been able to do together.  So we’re committed to getting this done and committed to strengthening even more the compacts of free association that we enjoy with Palau, with Micronesia, with the Marshall Islands.

Thank you all very much.