On Sunday 17 July, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister and Secretary of State, Xavier Bettel, met the Secretary of State of the USA, John Kerry, in Luxcembourg.
After a formal welcome, the two then travelled to the Chateau de Senningerberg for a working lunch. The Secretary of State of the US, John Kerry, was in Luxembourg on Saturday and Sunday this week-end at the invitation of Luxembourg’s Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn; on Sunday, John Kerry met with Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel.
The working lunch in Senningerberg allowed them to address various topics including bilateral and transatlantic relations, the refugee crisis as well as on European and international politics in general.
Following the lunch, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and John Kerry visited the American Military Cemetery in Luxembourg-Hamm. The cemetery holds the remains of 5,076 American soldiers who died in Luxembourg during the Second World War. They visited the grave of General George S. Patton and laid wreaths at the memorial to fallen soldiers of World War II. “Thousands of American soldiers have lost their lives so we could live in freedom today. We are their forever grateful,” said the Prime Minister after the visit.
On Saturday, John Kerry had met with Minister Aseelborn; they discussed the relationship between the Grand Duchy and the United States, specifically on the development of transatlantic relations and on international policy issues, including the current conflicts in the Middle East including the situation in Turkey. On Syria, Minister Asselborn welcomed the efforts undertaken by the Secretary of State Kerry and Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergei Lavrov, to restore the cease-fire, and expressed hope to see improvements in the situation on the ground.
Recognising that the United States and Europe today face many common challenges, they shared the view that the transatlantic partners must, more than ever, strengthen cooperation to cope with changes in the world based on common values.
The issue of negotiations on the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) also arose, with the meeting addressing the challenges of both sides of the Atlantic.
Minister Asselborn outlined the concerns of Luxembourg, emphasising the rights of states to legislate in public interest and the importance of maintaining the highest European standards in matters of consumer rights and protection, labour standards and environmental regulations. “It is obvious that European values will not be sold off on behalf of TTIP” said Jean Asselborn.