May 12, 2021
Secretary of State Antony Blinken Religious Freedom Report, Israel Briefing Transcript
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken gave a briefing on the international religious freedom report on May 12, 2021. He also addressed the situation in Israel, saying “the single most important thing right now is de-escalation.” Read the transcript of his remarks here.
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Antony Blinken: (00:03)
Thank you very much. Good morning, everyone. So let me start, first of all, by wishing everyone a good morning and Eid Mubarak to all who are celebrating. Before talking about the report. I want to just take a minute to discuss what’s happening in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. We’re deeply concerned about what we’re seeing there. Images that came out overnight are harrowing, and the loss of any civilian life is a tragedy.
Antony Blinken: (00:39)
I’ve asked Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hady Amr to go to the region immediately to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. He will bring to bear his decades of experience. And in particular, he will urge, on my behalf and on behalf of President Biden, a deescalation of violence. We are very focused on this. The United States remains committed to a two-state solution. This violence takes us further away from that goal.
Antony Blinken: (01:09)
We fully support Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself. We have condemned, and I condemn again, the rocket attacks in the strongest possible terms. We believe Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live with safety and security, and we’ll continue to engage with Israelis, Palestinians, and other regional partners to urge deescalation and to bring calm.
Antony Blinken: (01:37)
Now let me turn back to what brings us together this morning, and that is the report today. The State Department is releasing the 2020 International Religious Freedom Report. We’ve produced this document every year for 23 years. It offers a comprehensive review of the state of religious freedom in nearly 200 countries and territories around the world. And it reflects the collective effort of literally hundreds of American diplomats around the world and our Office of International Religious Freedom here in Washington led by Dan Nadel, And he’ll be taking some questions from you today on the report.
Antony Blinken: (02:13)
Let me just say a few words about why this report matters. Religious freedom is a human right. In fact, it goes to the heart of what it means to be human, to think freely, to follow our conscience, to change our beliefs if our hearts and minds lead us to do so, to express those beliefs in public and in private. This freedom is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It’s also part of the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Our country’s commitment to defending freedom of religion and belief goes back centuries. It continues today.
Antony Blinken: (02:55)
Religious freedom, like every human right, is universal. All people everywhere are entitled to it, no matter where they live, what they believe or what they don’t believe. Religious freedom is co-equal with other human rights because human rights are indivisible. Religious freedom is not more or less important than the freedom to speak and assemble, to participate in the political life of one’s country, to live free from torture or slavery or any other human rights. Indeed, they’re all interdependent.
Antony Blinken: (03:29)
Religious freedom can’t be fully realized unless other human rights are respected. And when governments violate their people’s right to believe and worship freely, it jeopardizes all the others. And religious freedom is a key element of an open and stable society. Without it, people aren’t able to make their fullest contribution to their country’s success. And whenever human rights are denied, it ignites tension, it breeds division.
Antony Blinken: (03:58)
As this year’s International Religious Freedom Report indicates, for many people around the world, this right is still out of reach. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, 56 countries encompassing a significant majority of the world’s people have high or severe restrictions on religious freedom.
Antony Blinken: (04:19)
To name just a few examples from this year’s report, Iran continues to intimidate, harass and arrest members of minority faith groups, including Bahai Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Sunni and Sufi Muslims. In Burma, the military coup leaders are among those responsible for ethnic cleansing and other atrocities against Rohingya, most of whom are Muslim, and other religious and ethnic minorities around the world.
Antony Blinken: (04:46)
In Russia, authorities continue to harass, detain and seize property of Jehovah’s Witnesses as well as members of Muslim minority groups on the pretense of alleged extremism. In Nigeria, courts continue to convict people of blasphemy, sentencing them to long-term imprisonment or even death. Yet the government has still not brought anyone to justice for the military’s massacre of hundreds of Shia Muslims in 2015.
Antony Blinken: (05:14)
Saudi Arabia remains the only country in the world without a Christian church, though there are more than a million Christians living in Saudi Arabia. And authorities continue to jail human rights activists like Raif Badawi, who was sentenced in 2014 to a decade in prison and 1,000 lashes for speaking about his beliefs. China broadly criminalizes religious expression and continues to commit crimes against humanity and genocide against Muslim leaders and members of other religious and ethnic minorities groups.
Antony Blinken: (05:50)
Today, I’m announcing the designation of Yu Hui, former office director of the so-called Central Leading Group Preventing and Dealing with Heretical Religions of Chengdu, for his involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely the arbitrary detention of Falun Gong practitioners. Yu Hui and his family are now ineligible for entry into the United States. I could go on. The examples are far too numerous.
Antony Blinken: (06:21)
More broadly, we’re seeing anti-Semitism on the rise worldwide, including here in the United States as well as across Europe. It’s a dangerous ideology that history has shown is often linked with violence. We must vigorously oppose it wherever it occurs. Anti-Muslim hatred is still widespread in many countries, and this too is a serious problem for the United States as well as in Europe. We have work to do to ensure that people of all faiths and backgrounds are treated with equal dignity and respect.
Antony Blinken: (06:56)
As this report notes, some countries are taking positive steps forward, and that too deserves comment. Last year, the civilian-led transitional government in Sudan repealed apostasy laws and public order laws that had been used to harass members of religious minority groups. Uzbekistan’s government has released hundreds of people who had been imprisoned because of their beliefs. Just this past Saturday, Turkmenistan released 16 Jehovah’s Witnesses who were conscientious objectors and refused to serve in the military. We understand the authorities will now offer conscientious objectors alternative ways to meet national service requirements. We want to see more progress like that.
Antony Blinken: (07:39)
And so our promise to the world is that the Biden-Harris administration will protect and defend religious freedom around the world. We will maintain America’s long-standing leadership on this issue. We’re grateful for our partners, including like-minded governments, the UN Human Rights Council and networks like the International Religious Freedom of Belief Alliance and the International Contact Group of Freedom of Religion or Belief. We’ll continue to work closely with civil society organizations, including human rights advocates and religious communities, to combat all forms of religiously motivated hatred and discrimination around the world.
Antony Blinken: (08:16)
Thank you very, very much, and we look forward to being able to get into the report in more detail. I’ll take a couple of questions before I take off.
Speaker 1: (08:24)
Thank you. It’s now clear that your calls for deescalation haven’t been heard or at least haven’t been enough to stop it until now. We’re now beyond an escalation. Why are you just sticking to these calls to deescalation and restraint? What can you do further to prevent a full-out, full-scale war? And also, have you personally talked or tried to talk to the Palestinian leadership, to President Abbas or others? And if not, why? And who on US side has been in touch with whom on the Palestinian side? Thank you.
Antony Blinken: (09:04)
Yeah. Thank you. A few things that are, I think, very important here. We are deeply engaged across the board, the State Department, the White House, senior officials, with the Israelis, with Palestinians, with other countries and partners in the region to call for and push for deescalation. To be very clear, again, we strongly condemn the rocket attacks coming out of Gaza that are targeting innocent Israeli civilians, and Israel has a right to defend itself. The Palestinians have a right to live in safety and security. And the most important thing going forward now is to take down the violence, to deescalate, and that’s exactly what we’re working toward. Jake Sullivan, the National Security Advisor, has been engaged with his counterpart. I’ve talked to-
Antony Blinken: (10:03)
Jay Sullivan, the national security advisor has been engaged with his counterpart. I’ve talked to foreign minister, Ashkenazi. Wendy Sherman, the Deputy Secretary of State has been engaged as well. And as I mentioned just a short while ago, we are sending our senior official responsible for Israeli and Palestinian affairs to the region. We’ve been engaged with all parties, including the Palestinians and that will continue. But the most important thing now is for all sides to cease the violence, to deescalate, and to try to move to calm.
Speaker 2: (10:43)
Beyond engagement and calls for deescalation, I just want to reiterate, is there anything more that the US can do at this point? And my second question is, more than 50 people have been killed in Gaza, including more than a dozen children. So given those casualties, do you think the Israeli response has been proportional?
Antony Blinken: (11:07)
So first in terms of what we’re doing, the most important thing that we can do right now is exactly what we’re doing, which is to be engaged across the board. And pushing on deescalation not only with Israelis and Palestinians, but also with other partners who are amplifying our voice. And as I said, we’re sending a senior diplomat to the region to work on this. So I think that piece is very important and our voice, our diplomacy from senior officials across the administration I hope will have to have an impact. There is first, a very clear and absolute distinction between a terrorist organization, Hamas that is indiscriminately reigning down rockets, in fact, targeting civilians and Israel’s response defending itself that is targeting the terrorists who were raining down rockets on Israel.
Antony Blinken: (12:10)
But whenever we see civilian casualties and particularly when we see children caught in the crossfire losing their lives, that has a powerful impact. And I think Israel has an extra burden in trying to do everything it possibly can to avoid civilian casualties, even as it is rightfully responding in defense of its people. And as I said, the Palestinian people have the right to safety and security and we have to, I think, all work in that direction. So the single most important thing right now is deescalation. We will continue to carry that message to our partners in Israel, to the Palestinians, and to partners in the region. Thanks very much.
Good morning and [foreign language 00:13:34] to all of our Muslim friends celebrating the end of Ramadan. Thank you, Secretary Blinken for those clear and forceful remarks underscoring our unyielding commitment to promote and defend… Excuse me. Let me take this off, so you can hear me. To promote and defend freedom of religion or belief for all. I’m also very pleased to recognize our reports coordinator, Bob Bohn, and his extraordinary editing team for their efforts to make this year’s report, all 2,397 pages a reality. Today, we released the state department’s 23rd report on international religious freedom. Over the course of more than two decades, we are proud to say these reports have become an indispensable resource to governments, legislatures, activists, academics, civil society organizations, and religious communities, the world over who value and seek to ensure this fundamental freedom. Our guiding principle in preparing the report is to present all relevant information as objectively, thoroughly, and fairly as possible. And though couched in dry and at times bureaucratic sounding language, what you see as you delve into the country chapters is a rich fabric of individual stories, stories that help us understand the experiences of individuals, of communities, sometimes entire societies. These reports include the personal costs, horrifying stories of discrimination, abuse, torture, disappearance, even death of someone’s parent, someone’s sibling, someone’s son or daughter for simply trying to organize their lives in accordance with their most basic values and beliefs. You will also see stories of those fighting back challenging repressive regimes, countering extremist violence, and building coalitions across religious and ethnic divides to combat discrimination, demand rights, and promote shared values of human dignity, mutual respect, and peace. So what do we do with this trove of information?
For the United States government and for the Office of international Religious Freedom, we use it as a starting point for advocacy efforts that span the entire year and beyond. We use it as a baseline to understand whether and how things are getting better or worse than a place, whether past engagement has proven effective or should be recalibrated and whether the case of a particular individual or community has been resolved or requires further attention. But some might ask, “Doesn’t this take a lot of resources? What does the United States actually get out of this investment?” First, the moral imperative is clear. We as a nation benefit immeasurably from the protections granted by our first amendment, and it is only natural to want others to share in the wealth of that experience.
Our efforts to advance international religious freedom are also firmly rooted in this knowledge. Countries that effectively safeguard this and other human rights are more peaceful, stable, prosperous, and more reliable partners of the United States than those that do not. Nations can never achieve their fullest potential when some are excluded from education, healthcare, jobs, and other essentials on account of their innermost beliefs or how they choose to manifest those beliefs. So it has long been recognized that promoting religious freedom is vital to America’s national security interests. Let me touch briefly on a few key themes that emerge in this year’s report. First, efforts to criminalize forms of speech and expression are an ineffective and in fact counterproductive tool to promote religious harmony or combat intolerance. While blasphemy laws are particularly pernicious, we are also concerned about laws that aim to regulate a person’s ability to wear or not wear religious attire or symbols, or laws that criminalize proselytization or limit parents’ ability to provide religious education for their children. Second, excessive and onerous government regulation of religion and religious life alienates citizens from their governments and increases the likelihood of individuals resorting to violence to defend their beliefs. Authorities in many countries continue to constrain religious expression through registration laws or restrictions on religious materials. We now increasingly see governments using this same tactic on the internet where officials closely monitor and heavily sensor religious expression online, and to rest or harass those involved in online discourse on religion or belief.
We strongly encourage governments to engage religious communities and faith leaders as partners and consult with these communities when contemplating changes to laws or policies that may impact religion or belief. Third, no society including our own is immune from the scourge of religious discrimination, whether manifesting as antisemitism, anti Muslim hatred, xenophobia, or marginalization of Christians, atheists, or any others. Education and youth focused programs are vital to promote an understanding of the value and importance of pluralism and mutual respect for all. We remain committed to working with government and civil society partners to tackle problems like hate crimes, discrimination, and religiously motivated violence in ways that do not interfere with freedom of religion and freedom of expression.
And finally, we all must remain vigilant for early warnings of possible mass atrocities around the globe. In a few short years, we have seen genocide perpetrated by ISIS against ECDS, Christians, and other ethnic and religious minorities in Northern Iraq and Syria. We’ve seen mass atrocities including ethnic cleansing committed by the Burmese military against Rohingya. It is certainly no coincidence that those behind the recent military coup are among the same people who have led the repression of Burma’s ethnic and religious minorities for decades. As one activist recently noted, “They have turned those tools on all of us now.” And today, we also cannot look away from the ongoing crimes against humanity and genocide the Chinese government is perpetrating against Muslim weekers and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Shinjang. This can be seen as the culmination of decades of repression of religious adherence from Tibetan Buddhists, to Christians, to Falun Gong practitioners. We persist in this work because of the unfortunate truth that many of the challenges to religious freedom we see in the world today-
… the truth that many of the challenges to religious freedom we see in the world today are structural, systemic, and deeply entrenched. That cannot be solved by quick fixes or breezy slogans, but we must not give up. These challenges demand sustained commitment from all of us who are unwilling to accept hatred, intolerance, and persecution as the status quo. The United States is committed to using all available tools, both positive and punitive, to advance this universal right. For the many people and communities around the world whose stories fill this report, our message today is clear. We see you, we hear you, and we will not rest until you are free to live your lives in dignity and in peace. Thank you very much, and I’ll be pleased to take your questions.
Speaker 3: (20:49)
Hi. Sorry. I mean, you talked about religious freedom of all. I mean, a stark example is what is happening in Aqsa Mosque. I think your response, at best tepid thus far, has in a way encouraged the Israeli security forces and so on to keep storming the mosque time and time and time again. Will you call on them not to do that anymore and to allow Palestinian worshipers to go ahead and worship on this last day of Ramadan and tomorrow being Eid?
Well, thank you very much for your question. The United States has long supported the status quo agreements around the Haram esh-Sharif Temple Mount area. The secretary spoke at length about this issue. So from a religious freedom perspective, I think there’s only one thing that is worth me adding. The only way over the longterm to ensure respect for religious freedom for all Jews, Muslims, Christians, Bahais, all people in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza is to achieve a just and lasting peace. You can’t have respect for human rights when there continues to be conflict. That’s always going to be a challenge and always going to be a tension. So we remain committed to working with all of the parties in the region to get there together.
Speaker 4: (22:18)
Oh, yes. At the United Nations today, there was a bit of a side event. I don’t know exactly what the terminology is about the situation in Xinjiang, China, which Secretary Blinken just mentioned. Were you disappointed that there weren’t more majority Muslim nations participating in that call? How do you think the Chinese government would … Do you think they’ll get the message, and if so, how, about whether to change their actions or behavior in that region?
Well, thank you. Thank you very much for the question, and obviously the situation in Xinjiang just shocks the conscience. We do these events. We arrange these activities to ensure that people understand the full scope and scale of the atrocities being committed there. But it’s not a popularity contest at the end of the day. It’s not about how many countries line up on one side of an issue or the other. That’s an effort on the part of the Chinese government to try and demonstrate that there are people who agree with their worldview, but the facts speak for themselves. The facts of the situation, not the views of the United States government, are what will ultimately carry the day.
What I’m talking about is open source satellite information that’s been published in many of your publications. What I’m talking about is the testimony of survivors who have escaped from the camps that, again, have been published by many of you. All of that information is out there. It’s available. We’re also talking about documents of the Chinese government, the PRC authorities’ own documents sharing information about how they intend to build these camps, how they intend to manage these populations. All of this is out there for everyone to see.
So at the end of the day, it is absolutely clear what horrors are taking place in Xinjiang, being perpetrated by the PRC government. We will continue to speak out, because we must. We will continue to work with partners where we can on issues of sanctions, issues of ensuring accountability and justice for the victims. But at the end of the day, it’s not how many people show up at an event. It’s us getting at that long-term effort to stop these terrible actions and put people in a better place.
Speaker 5: (24:43)
Do you have a China question, or should we go-
Speaker 6: (24:44)
Speaker 5: (24:44)
Okay. We’ll come to you right now.
Speaker 6: (24:46)
Yeah. Last month, the independent US commission on international religious freedom basically urged the administration to not send officials to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing over the persecution of Uyghur Muslims. Now State Department has its own report, and I know that it doesn’t talk about Olympics, but still, will you agree to the call for a diplomatic boycott? I just want to squeeze in something about Burma, because you mentioned it in your remarks. We know that State Department has taken up several processes for an atrocity determination, and they fell apart. Given what’s happening now, is there a fresh effort to take this up and look into the events to declare a genocide, to make a genocide determination or crimes against humanity?
Sure. Well, I’ll take your second question on Burma first. The secretary has committed to a comprehensive review of the atrocities committed against Rohingya in Rakhine state. That process has begun, and it is in fact ongoing. The department will continue to work in the meantime to promote peace, security, and respect for the human rights of Rohingya as equal citizens of Burma. On your first question about the Beijing Olympics, look, we can’t turn a blind eye to Beijing’s abhorrent human rights record, and it’s not just about Xinjiang, which we’ve spoken about. It’s Tibet. It’s Hong Kong. It’s the whole host of things that happen on the mainland. We recognize that when it comes to the Olympics, our efforts will be most effective if we act alongside like-minded partners. So at the moment, we’re reviewing options on policy and messaging related to the games that will advance US priorities, which includes countering Beijing’s intent to use the games as a platform to somehow validate their governing model and paper over their gross human rights violations. So we’re consulting with Congress, allies and partners, and other key stakeholders as we proceed.
Speaker 5: (26:45)
Speaker 7: (26:48)
Just to follow up on China, the US has taken a number of actions against China, including the Commerce Department adding several entities to their entity list. Business advisory is going out, cautioning businesses against forced labor in Xinjiang, numerous officials getting visa restrictions. The secretary just announced another designation today. Is the State Department seeing any effect to these actions? What more can the State Department do? Is the answer just more officials getting sanctioned?
Well, we’re certainly looking at all available options and continuing to look at individual culpability of particular actors in China so we can apply sanctions to them where those sanctions are relevant. In terms of overall changes or shifts in posture, I think what we’ve seen over the last year and a half or so is a dramatic shift in the government of China’s posture towards this issue of human rights abuses generally. You’ll recall that early on, it was blanket denial when it came to Xinjiang. “There’s nothing happening here. Nothing to see. Thanks for asking. Sorry.” What that ultimately shifted to was was a realization that what was happening could not be denied. It could not be papered over. It was clear. So now it’s about justification. It’s about, “Oh, this is a terrorism issue. Oh, this is a security issue.”
Of course, the world isn’t buying it. We see quite clearly what it is. What it is is an attempt to erase a people, a history, a culture from the earth, and that’s unacceptable. So we continue to work and look at all the tools at our disposal, and those punitive tools have come in quite handy here, but we’re not going to sit back at a certain point and say, “Okay, that’s enough of those.” When we find perpetrators, when we find those responsible for activities, whether they’ve already been committed or if future activities are committed, we’re going to continue to hold them accountable under the structure that we’ve been given in US law.
Speaker 7: (28:53)
Just to clarify, there’s been no changes as far as people in China’s religious freedoms?
Well, the situation remains dire. One of the interesting things that has shifted a bit is at least early on, you saw a dramatic reliance on camps, people being warehoused, essentially, in camps for reeducation, for forced labor, for other purposes. What the government is now doing is they’ve basically turned Xinjiang into an open air camp. So people’s movements are closely tracked. You have minders who have been assigned to live with Uyghurs to keep tabs on them. You have people going to the market who have to check in every time they go to a different market stall. So what the government has created, it’s quite an ambitious effort to essentially turn the entire region into an open air prison.
Speaker 8: (29:47)
The secretary says religious freedom is co-equal with other human rights. Religious freedom is not more or less important than other rights. This seems to be a departure from the prior administration. Do you view this as a departure from the prior administration? If so, can you tell us what the thinking was? Also, how much of this-
Speaker 8: (30:03)
So, can you tell us what the thinking was, and also how much of this report is consistent with what the Trump administration was going to put out and where are the biggest departures do you feel with Biden-Trump administration on this report?
Yeah. So, as somebody who’s worked on this report now over three administrations, I can tell you the structure of the report and the content has changed virtually not at all since amendments to the Religious Freedom Act were passed back in 2016. So, the report itself documents the state of religious freedom in nearly 200 countries and territories. It talks about government practices. It talks about laws and policies that are relevant to the state of religious freedom. It talks about societal actions impacting religious freedom, and in the last section, it talks about US government actions to address the challenges that the rest of the report lays out. So, nothing has really changed in the Religious Freedom Report from over the last three administrations, essentially since the Wolf Act was passed in 2016. When it comes to the conceptual framework for religious freedom, the Secretary has made clear that that religious freedom is a nested human right? It’s a human right that exists in co-dependence with other human rights. You can’t have religious freedom without freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of assembly. You can’t have religious freedom without a system that guarantees the rule of law, because if people have problems, there’s no recourse without a rule of law system. So, what you have there is it’s not a departure certainly from any prior concept, but it’s a clarification because Secretary Pompeo did express his view that there was perhaps a hierarchy of rights concept. And that’s a view that this administration does depart from, but that in no way is to indicate that religious freedom is any less important. Religious freedom is in our First Amendment. It’s been a part of our country, our culture, our history from the very, very beginning. It was, in fact, the reason many people came to this country, because they were fleeing forms of religious persecution or discrimination overseas. That was true in the 18th century and continues to be true in the 21st century. So, as a general matter, religious freedom is a fundamental freedom. It is a co-equal right, and it’s one that we will continue to stand up for.
Speaker 9: (32:26)
Yes, yes. Yeah. And one on South Asia, what is your general assessment of the situation of religious freedom in India? Your report in India did mention that US officials last year discuss with Indians to issue CAA and FCRA. What were you asking India to do on those two issues? And finally, your report also mentioned about the religious prosecution, I guess, was in Hindus, Christians and [inaudible 00:32:55] in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. What are your messages to these three countries? Thank you.
Thank you. Sure, sure thing. Well, well, with respect to India first, we do regularly engage with Indian government officials at all levels, encouraging them to uphold human rights, obligations and commitments, including the protection of minorities in keeping with India’s long tradition of democratic values and its history of tolerance. We also meet continuously with civil society organizations, local religious communities, to hear their views and understand challenges and opportunities that they see. When it comes to our overall encouragement to the government of India, it is to engage these communities, these outside actors, in direct discourse, because when laws are passed, when initiatives are undertaken that are done without effective consultation with these communities, it creates a sense of disempowerment at times of alienation. And the best way to address that is to engage in that direct dialogue between government and civil society, including religious communities. So with respect to India, I think there’s genuine opportunities there for the government to address some of the concerns they hear from Indian civil society, through a greater dialogue and engagement. When it comes to the other countries you mentioned, I apologize. You mentioned Bangladesh and
Speaker 9: (34:21)
Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Sure. So the issues of respect for the rights of Hindu minorities and in each of those three instances, Christian, sometimes Bahai, other, Sikh, other religious minorities in all three of those countries are of significant interest to us. They are topics that we raise frequently with governments. Sometimes, we’re encouraging governments to do the same thing that I mentioned for India, engage in direct discourse with these communities, make sure you understand their needs, what opportunities exist to bring them into conversations and empower them as co-equal citizens. One of the broad principles that we encourage governments to think about is, when you have minority populations that don’t have access to the same opportunities, jobs, education that members of the majority community do, you’re actually losing the potential for economic growth. You’re actually losing out on empowering people to be contributing members of your society. And so discrimination has an economic cost as well. And so that’s another feature that we always seek to incorporate into those conversations. Thank you.
Speaker 10: (35:34)
Okay. Any other questions? Okay. We’ll have an opportunity to hear more from Stan later today. So we appreciate your time, everyone.
Thank you very much.
Speaker 9: (35:43)