SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good morning, everyone.  A tout le monde, bienvenue, welcome.  Secretary Austin and I are delighted to have three close partners of the United States with us this morning: President Bazoum of the Republic of Niger, President Hassan Sheikh from the Federal Republic of Somalia, and, of course, President Guelleh from the Republic of Djibouti.  To all three of you, thank you, thank you for being here this morning and joining us.

We greatly value the strong relationship with these key partners as well as their continued engagement and leadership in support of African and regional security.  Their leadership – (break) – just simply to say how much we appreciate leadership across the board, including the work to resolve conflicts – (break) – well, simply put, we simply want to use this morning to continue building on the close partnership that we have to discuss in particular security cooperation and other shared priorities, including climate, health, education, food security.

(Via interpreter) We appreciate your participation and the partnership between our country and the leadership that you are showing in your continent.  Welcome.

SECRETARY AUSTIN:  Well, good morning, gentlemen.  It’s really great to see you.  We’re – as Secretary Blinken said, we’re happy to meet today to discuss our longstanding and effective security partnerships.  Our work together strengthens peace, security, and governance across Africa and beyond.

President Guelleh, we are especially grateful to Djibouti for hosting Camp Lemonnier.  That’s crucial for countering violent extremism and for supporting maritime security in the region.

President Bazoum, Niger has proven itself to be a willing and able partner in the fight against violent extremist organizations, and the United States is proud to support you and your Sahel Joint Force partners.

And President Sheikh Mohamud, the U.S. Department of Defense is fortunate to partner with Somalia’s courageous armed forces, and we’ll continue to support your government’s efforts as you further develop your security forces.

So we’re grateful for all of your countries’ robust cooperation with the United States.  Our partnerships contribute directly to many of the key goals in our National Defense Strategy, including defending our country, deterring aggression, and combating violent extremism.  And our partnerships are crucial to tackling transnational challenges that threaten us all, such as climate change and pandemics.

We’re all here today because we recognize that African leadership remains key to confronting our era’s defining challenges of peace, security, and governance, so we deeply appreciate your leadership and your friendship and look forward to continuing to build upon our important partnership.  So thank you very much, and it’s great to see you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you, everyone.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future