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Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III Remarks Welcoming Angolan Minister of National Defense Joao Ernesto dos Santos to the Pentagon

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LLOYD J. AUSTIN III:  Well, Mr. Minister, welcome to the Pentagon.  I am delighted that you were able to visit today.  Angola is a strategic partner and a regional leader, and the United States deeply values our deepening ties with Angola.

As President Biden said in 2022 at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit here in Washington, Africa's success is the world's success.  And since that summit, the United States and Angola have continued to hold high-level dialogues and to advance the goals that our leaders discussed.

Last September, I was proud to be the first U.S. Secretary of Defense to visit Angola, and I had good discussions with your President and with your team at the Ministry of Defense.  So it's great to return the favor and to be able to host you today. 

And Mr. Minister, I traveled to Angola because of the importance of our defense partnership.  I'm proud of all that we've done together to deepen our partnership, from maritime security to peacekeeping to defense policy and more.

And our relationship has tremendous potential to grow even further, including in areas like cybersecurity as well as Angola's potential participation in the U.S. State Partnership Program.  And we remain grateful for Angola's willingness to consider defense purchases from the U.S.

So we're eager to work together to seize this historic opportunity to promote peace, security, and responsible rules-based governance, and the Department of Defense looks forward to continued cooperation with Angola as you restructure and modernize your armed forces.

Mr. Minister, we appreciate Angola's leadership in the region and beyond.  Thanks again for making the trip, and I know that we're going to have a great discussion.  Over to you, sir.

JOAO ERNESTO DOS SANTOS (THROUGH TRANSLATOR):  Excellency, Secretary of Defense of the United States, distinguished member of the delegation of the United States, distinguished member of the delegation — the Angola delegation, distinguished guests, I would like foremost to thank you for this warm reception that we have here in the Pentagon.

The Republic of Angola is a country with a peaceful vocation and defense, the resolution of conflicts, true political, diplomatic means.  Assuming a strategy of cooperation in the bilateral and multilateral domains, with a view to its competitive ascension in the international arena, increasingly preserving its most (inaudible) interests in the continent and in the world where we all belong.

It's therefore considered a strategic area of (inaudible) interests to be important for achieving its security and defense objectives, as well as for guaranteeing its development and stems from the assessment of the international situation and the definition of capabilities.

Angola's strategic vision prioritizes its insertion in all possible areas of national, continental, and international interests, especially within the framework of the African regional organizations in which it is inserted and with which it has geographical, historical, and cultural affinities mentioned above.

In this context, the geostrategic and the geopolitical space in which Angola is inserted requires special attention due to the deep historical, geographical, economic, and cultural complexities of the communities mentioned above.

The Republic of Angola is interested in fostering African defense and security policies in order to achieve peace, stability, cohesion, and the deepening of African projects.  Hence, it's focused on promoting an agenda of conflict prevention and resolution by peaceful means and interstate dialogue between the values which are now (inaudible).

With the USA, United States of America, the Minister — the Ministry of National Defense and Homeland Veterans intends to strengthen its relations in the field of defense by expanding cooperation in new areas, namely strengthening technical and operational capacity, such as acquisition of an ultimate building machine construction system, acquisition of transport and logistic vehicle to be supplied by Oshkosh Defense, acquisition of a bridge system to be supplied by Acrow Bridges, acquisition of a fleet of light tactical vehicles to be supplied by General Motors Defense, also the acquisition of aircrafts.

So we came to your country to make the follow-up of all the activities that we've been developing over the few times ago.  This — why we be here in your country, we intend to visit some companies — American companies so — in order for us to work together and to strengthen the relation of cooperation that we started.  Certainly, all that we'll — we might expect to acquire, we should think about the institutional financing.

Dear Excellency, once again, I would like to thank you for this opportunity.  Thank you very much.

SEC. AUSTIN:  Yeah, Mr. Minister, welcome.  We're delighted to have you.  I look forward to a great discussion.  Thanks, everybody.