ASSISTANT SECRETARY NAGY: Distinguished cabinet secretaries, honorable visitors, distinguished colleagues, welcome to this most momentous occasion, where we are launching a new stage of our relations with one of our key friends in Africa – nay, in the world. This framework covers the four essential parts of the relations between our two countries, and it arises out of a meeting that our two presidents had last August, and we’re following through. This is only the first, and it will continue year by year to cement our relations, as I said, at a new level.
So without further ado, I would like to ask our deputy secretary to come up.
DEPUTY SECRETARY SULLIVAN: Thank you, Tibor, for that kind introduction. I’m delighted to have Cabinet Secretaries Juma and Matiang’i here today in Washington for the inaugural Bilateral Strategic Dialogue, or BSD.
Last August, our two presidents – President Trump and President Kenyatta – committed to take our bilateral relationship to the next level. We see the inaugural BSD, which is a key deliverable from that meeting last year, as proof positive that the United States and Kenya are prepared to do the hard but rewarding work to build our relationship to a much higher and stronger level.
The U.S. and Kenyan teams met here at the State Department today to discuss ways to advance our joint goals under the BSD’s four pillars: economic prosperity, trade and investment; defense cooperation; democracy, governance and civilian security; and multilateral and regional issues. Finalizing key infrastructure deals, deepening our security cooperation, and enhancing civilian security and governance assistance are just a few of the topics the BSD addresses.
Tomorrow, my colleague Under Secretary Hale will open the high-level segment of the BSD, emphasizing the progress we have made on our shared priorities since our presidents met last year. We will conclude the BSD with our teams briefing on their progress and ideas for the way forward.
The framework that the cabinet secretary and I will establish shortly creates the structure and reaffirms our intention to pursue dialogues in the future. Kenya is among our strongest partners in the continent and – as the assistant secretary has noted correctly – in the world. This dialogue will help us chart our course forward for our bilateral relationship.
Madam Cabinet Secretary, I’m pleased to sign this framework on behalf of the U.S. Government. The floor is yours.
CABINET SECRETARY JUMA: Good afternoon. Deputy Secretary John Sullivan, colleagues, Cabinet Secretary Matiang’i, the Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Tibor Nagy, may I begin by expressing our utmost delight at the hosting of this inaugural Bilateral Strategic Dialogue.
As deputy secretary has indicated, this meeting in the next couple of days is indication of the strategic vision of our two leaders. When we departed Nairobi two days ago, President Kenyatta directed us to understand the importance and the meaning of this dialogue. First, that it must work towards the benefit of our peoples, and we must work together to mitigate and defeat the immediate threats to our security and prosperity together. In this regard, our cooperation in defense and security become the guarantee for our continued prosperity.
In this regard, Deputy Secretary, I have to report that yesterday I had the occasion to meet with the Pentagon, with the MOD team, and that discussion indicated that our MOD relationship is a model relationship, a model bilateral – a relationship that is servicing the region and a relationship that is contributing to international peace and security. And so we are delighted that those teams will today be speaking to the next steps in strengthening our defense and security cooperation.
President Kenyatta has also mandated us to work in this strategic dialogue to promote ambitious trade and investment in each other’s country, and I take delight in Ambassador Kyle’s counsel that we should not talk and think small, because our presidents are thinking big. We are talking about the future of prosperity. This ambitious trade and investment portfolio must be able to help build the wealth for our people. It must create more jobs; it must create decent living; it must contribute to the prosperity of ourselves and the world.
Thirdly, we must work closely to make sure that our region – the Horn of Africa, the East Africa and Central Africa – is secure for investment; it’s politically stable, is democratically free. It pushes the democratic project and we are free from all want, including the threats such as pandemic, but more importantly, the threat of international jihadism. This threat is probably the greatest risk to our strategic relationship, because even if we think big, even if we create the right environment for investment and trade, unless we are able to tether the threat that comes with extremism, then we are at a risk.
And therefore, we are here in order that these three broad parameters help us and become really the North Star that guides the discussions that we have been having and that we shall be having in the next two days. That is why, Deputy Secretary, I’m delighted to commit my government in terms of taking this relationship – which is a historical relationship, which is a significant relationship, which is a relationship that is growing in its diversity and depth and complexity – it’s a relationship that is our peoples’ relationship, government to government, business to business, value norms that we believe in and that we share.
So I am delighted to lead this delegation. And you can see by the number of officers that are here, led by my senior colleague, the minister in charge of interior, Dr. Fred Matiang’i, the seriousness with which we hold this relationship. We are delighted to be here and happy for another fruitful engagement. I thank you.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY NAGY: May I invite the cabinet secretary and the deputy secretary to the table, please?
(The documents were signed.)
ASSISTANT SECRETARY NAGY: Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us on this historic occasion. Thank you. We will now proceed to the discussions.