SECRETARY BLINKEN: It’s wonderful to be here at the Africa Cup of Nations, and I just want to compliment the Ivory Coast, Côte d’Ivoire, for the extraordinary organization of this tournament, bringing so many people together from around the continent and actually well beyond, including a lot of Americans who are here, getting to experience the Ivory Coast, seeing the remarkable work that’s been done putting this tournament together and bringing people together. And that’s really the power of sports; it breaks down barriers of every kind – of language, of geography, of politics, and especially when it comes to football – to soccer for some of us in the United States – may be the most powerful unifier in the world.
So it’s great to be a small part of this here to honor the incredible work that the Ivory Coast is doing in bringing all of these countries together, bringing all of us together. And it’s another way of building bridges between the United States and Africa, the United States and the Ivory Coast. We’re doing a lot of actual building of infrastructure, but this is building connections between people. Sports does that as well as anything.
So it’s a pleasure to be a part of this tonight, and I want to president – want to congratulate again President Ouattara for the extraordinary achievement and the people of the Ivory Coast for the extraordinary achievement. Thank you. Merci.