PRIME MINISTER SILVA: (Via interpreter) Good morning, Your Excellency Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Welcome to Cabo Verde. A special visit of yours to Cabo Verde, to the city of Praia, strengthens our excellent relations between Cabo Verde and United States of America. This visit to four African countries that begins in Cabo Verde is an example of the Biden administration’s genuine interest in win-win partnerships with Africa.
Cabo Verde is a longstanding and consistent partner of the U.S. We have a diaspora of thousands of American Cape Verdeans, Cape Verdean American citizens who are proud of their origins. We share values of democracy, good governance, respect for human rights, and a defense of human dignity.
History, diaspora, and values are the foundations of our relations. That’s why they are strong in structure. In general, Cape Verde’s foreign relations are guided by the values of liberal democracy, international law, and multilateralism, and by predictability, consistency, and trust in our partnerships. It is based on these references that we strongly condemn Russians’ – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we condemned the terrorist act of Hamas in Israel, and we defend solutions that make the two states of Israel and Palestine viable. We condemn coup d’etat and changes to constitutional term limits for presidents of the republic that have occurred in Africa. We clearly and explicitly define the U.S.A., Brazil, the united European Union, and the UK as strategic partners for cooperative security and defense.
In relation to our partnership, I would like to express my gratitude for your support in the fight against COVID-19. Vaccines have been decisive in the good fight we have waged against COVID. As a demonstration of this, Cape Verde is one of the higher – has one of the higher rates of vaccination, and we are thankful for the quick and consistent response of the U.S.A.
To recognize another Millennium Challenge Account compact is an important distinction for Cape Verde (inaudible) to underline the important investment in the construction of the new embassy of the United States in Cabo Verde, specifically in the city of Praia, and underlined the important investment in the construction of the U.S. embassy.
We recognize the partnership program with the National Guard of the state of New Hampshire in the training and technical assistance of our coast guard. I personally witnessed this partnership. We want to strengthen our relations in terms of (inaudible) diplomatic dialogue of attracting investment and exports, training, science and technology, and the spread of the English language for the development of our country. The massification of the English language is strategic for developing the potential of tourism; business; technological, scientific, and academic connectivity in a country open to the world and with a high level of economic freedom. In this sense, we would like to have the Peace Corps return to Cabo Verde.
We believe that partnership for development and cooperative security should go hand in hand. It is in our common interest for the developed countries and partners. We would like to strengthen our partnership with the U.S. in maritime security and cyber security from a regional, global perspective – the structured, predictable, and sustained partnership. We have good topics for conversation during our work (inaudible). Thank you, and I’ll give you the floor.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Prime Minister, thank you for the incredible warmth of your welcome, and I also mean that literally. We’ve just come from the snows of Washington, D.C. to quite literally the warmth of Cabo Verde. We’re so delighted to be here.
Very good. Thank you. As you said, Mr. Prime Minister, we are here on the first day of a trip that takes us from Cabo Verde to Côte d’Ivoire and then on to Nigeria and finally to Angola, and this trip – and by the way, I believe the last time a secretary of state was in Cabo Verde was more than 20 years ago with Secretary Powell, and I’m thrilled to follow in his footsteps. But we’re here in Cabo Verde, in Africa because, as President Biden has said, our futures are linked, our prosperity is linked, our people are linked. And African voices increasingly are shaping, animating, and leading the world in conversation.
The United States is committed to deepening, to strengthening, to broadening our partnerships across Africa, partnerships that benefit Africans and Americans alike. As President Biden has said, we are all in when it comes to Africa. But I have to tell you there’s a good reason that we’re starting here in Cabo Verde, and that’s because you have been and you are a remarkable partner for the United States. And as you’ve said, Prime Minister, this is a partnership that is based fundamentally on shared values as well as shared interests, and also a deep history together. Assistant Secretary Phee was just telling me of a Cabo Verdean who played a prominent role in our own Civil War, and we have so much history since then, and very strong communities of Cabo Verdeans in the United States who contribute in remarkable ways to our country.
But in our own relationship, I believe that the work we’ve already done and that we can build on in terms of our economic partnership is absolutely critical. It is extraordinary that Cabo Verde is the first country to complete two Millennium Challenge Corporation compacts, and now you’re starting to build a third one. I’m deeply honored that we were able through one of the compacts to make substantial investments in the port here of Praia, and that’s had manifest benefits for the port. In fact, I look forward to visiting it a little while later.
We’ll have a lot on our agenda, as you’ve suggested. One of the things that we’ll focus on, health and health security – I have to congratulate you on the malaria -free certification for Cabo Verde, which is also a remarkable achievement. But along with health, along, of course, with climate, which we know animates your government and animates our partnership, I have to also tell you that for the United States, Cabo Verde is truly a beacon of stability in the region at a time when there is more than our share of instability and challenge. And, of course, that goes well beyond the region of West Africa. We see it in different parts of the world.
But the work that you’ve done – and we’ve been proud to partner with you – for example, on law enforcement, on drug interdiction, seizing more than 30 tons of cocaine in recent years, has been very significant. And beyond that, in our own partnership, working with you on your coast guard, restoring vessels, as well as strong packages to support U.S.-built aircraft here in Cabo Verde that are so critical to maintaining maritime domain awareness, making sure that, for a country that is 99 percent sea, that you have a complete picture of what’s happening around you.
You also noted and I must underscore as well the global issues where we’ve been partnered. I have to thank you, thank you for deeply, for the strong, principled voice Cabo Verde has brought to international conversations, international discussions, international work at the United Nations and beyond. We see this in some of the very difficult issues that you’ve tackled from a place of principle, including Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
We’re also building partnerships that are founded in multilateral work in other critical ways that will really be to the benefit of Cabo Verdeans and Americans alike – our new Partnership for Atlantic Cooperation, where Cabo Verde is playing a leading role, and we are grateful for that – and then, as I mentioned as well, a strong voice around the world on climate, because you know better than so many the effects both now and potential when it comes to climate change. But building a blue economy – that too is I think a very powerful part of our partnership.
Prime Minister, you said something very powerful that I just want to repeat, and that is that your true source of wealth, of richness is in the peace, security, stability, and democracy that Cabo Verde enjoys. And we want to leverage those strengths to the benefit of Cabo Verdeans but also Americans and, in fact, the entire world. So it’s in that spirit that we’re here today – a spirit of partnership, a spirit of admiration for the work that you’ve done, and a determination to do even more together between the United States and Cabo Verde. We’re grateful for your welcome, your hospitality. And of course – I saved the best for last – congratulations on making the knockout round in the Africa Cup. We’ll be looking, we’ll be watching carefully, and – don’t tell anyone – we’re cheering for you. (Laughter.) So thank you so much.
PRIME MINISTER SILVA: Thank you.