FOREIGN MINISTER SILVA: (Via interpreter) Good morning. I’m going to say a few words in English.
(In English) Dear Secretary of State, my American colleague and friend, Mike, welcome to Lisbon. It’s an honor and a pleasure to receive you here. It will – it has been our second bilateral meeting, both very productive, straight to the point, making (inaudible) of a very, very rich bilateral agenda. We shall have the 42 – the meeting number 42 of our Standing Bilateral Commission the next 17th of December, here in Lisbon. This is an evidence of how close and strong are our bilateral relations. And of course, the issue of cooperation in the vital fields of defense and security is at the very heart of our bilateral relations.
We spoke about Lajes and what we are doing in Lajes, in the Azores. We spoke about our new projects concerning the security – maritime security and the security in maritime routes in Africa, and of course, we spoke about issues of international relations in which we have direct interests and convergent positions – namely, regarding Latin America and, specifically, to Venezuela, in which we are, both countries, engaged in a political transition to a democratic order in that country.
And of course, we spoke also about Africa and the Portuguese-speaking – the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries. We were very glad that the United States has presented its candidacy to be an observer of the CPLP, the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries. It’s a very interesting initiative. We have already the preliminary approval by our ambassadors in CPLP, and we hope that in the forthcoming summit the United States will be formally approved as the new observer of our community. It’s very important for us.
We spoke also about our economic relations that are increasing in a very important way in cooperation in the field of science and technology, between our universities, between our research centers, between our departments. And it is very, very important that we can seize all the opportunities to improve this cooperation, for instance, in the vital domain of space, in which research, technology, and economy join together in order to give a new impulse, a new momentum to the human profiting of space and the opportunity space is giving to us.
And of course, finally, we spoke about issues in which the economic and national security interests converge, which means, of course, critical infrastructures like ports and telecommunications and telecommunications networks. We are currently opening a tender to the expansion of our port at Sines, and we hope to see American companies present their bids. And we are working within the European Union in order to assess in a very, very important way, all the risks and vulnerabilities related to the launching of 5G networks, and we will respect all the results of this assessment in order to guarantee that the digital transition of our economy can go hand in hand with the strengthening of our national security and, of course, that we work with our allies.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Great, thank you. Thank you, Augusto. I’d like to start by thanking Prime Minister Costa and, of course, you, Foreign Minister Santos Silva, and the people of Portugal for welcoming me. It’s my first trip here as Secretary of State. There hasn’t been a secretary of state here for far too long – a decade on now. Our meetings today certainly strengthened the relationship between the United States of America and Portugal. Our consul in the Azores is our oldest continuous consular post in the world. More than 1.4 million Americans trace their roots back here, so much – in part because of the continuous trade we’ve had between our two nations for all of these many decades. I’m proud that earlier this year we renamed the ambassador’s residence in Lisbon as Casa Carlucci. We did that in honor of one of our great former ambassadors here, Frank Carlucci.
From your history of exploration and discovery with Magellan and da Gama to your present international footprint, it’s clear that Portugal has a special, influential role in the world, and they are a great partner and ally to the United States of America.
Our meetings were incredibly productive. Yeah, we were both just in London at the NATO – we were both in Brussels at the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting and then at the leaders’ meeting in London, we discussed the alliance in great detail. We are grateful for Portugal’s continued effort to approach the two percent commitment that it made to NATO. We also touched upon Portugal’s essential contributions in the counterterrorism field and in regional security theaters like Iraq, and in Afghanistan, in Africa, in the Balkans, and in the Mediterranean as well.
I thanked the foreign minister as well for his steadfast support and his hard work in supporting the Venezuelan people and their elected leader, Juan Guaido.
As the foreign minister mentioned, we’ve spoken at great length about the risk that comes with bringing in 5G from untrusted networks. We must all carefully assess the risk of Chinese investments in these strategic and sensitive areas and ask hard questions. I make this point because the Chinese Communist Party will not hesitate to use any tool at hand to oppress their own people and others around the world. We want to make sure that Chinese economic leverage is never used to suppress democratic voices anywhere in the world – here in Portugal, in Europe, in the United States, or any place.
And rest assured the United States will continue to be a friend of Portugal. Our alliance and partnership is strong. Our vibrant economic relationship will continue. I’m deeply aware of what’s going on there in your port, and we look forward to working closely with you. And I thank you so much for the kindness that you, the minister of defense, and your entire team have shown to our team on this visit here to Portugal. Thank you.
MODERATOR: (In Portuguese.)
QUESTION: Hi, Victoria Waldersee from Reuters. You’ve spoken significantly about Huawei as Chinese firms do hold significant investments in key sectors in Portugal’s economy, and telecommunications operators here are working with Huawei to roll out 5G networks next year. Is this an impediment in U.S.-Portuguese relations, especially considering Trump’s statement yesterday that Huawei is not just a security risk but a security danger, and how will it affect your relationship if China continues to win key contracts in Portugal’s economy? That’s a question for you both.
SECRETARY POMPEO: So, I’ll begin. We’ve approached this very consistently everywhere. It begins with American national security. So we have the privacy interests of American citizens that we want to make sure and protect. And so as we think about where Americans’ information will be, we want to make sure that that information only gets into networks that we trust and that we’re confident that won’t end up in the hands of a malign actor or the Chinese Communist Party.
And so we recognize the sovereignty of every nation, their right to make decisions for themselves, but we have tried for these past couple years to make clear to our friends all around the world of the intended risks, and that they’ll do so via a science and technology-based set of risks. They’ll have to make their own judgments about it.
But as the President said yesterday, it’s not just about one particular company from one particular country. It is about ensuring that information – we aren’t – Europe cares deeply about the privacy of its own citizens. It is the case that the leadership in Europe and the EU will have an important role. The leadership in Europe has a responsibility to ensure that the networks on which European private citizens’ information flows are secure and safe and trusted and this information won’t flow to places that that information ought not to be.
And so our mission, the United States mission, has been to share what we know, what we understand, and then how America is thinking about decisions we will have to make in light of where American information travels as well.
FOREIGN MINISTER SILVA: I will answer in Portuguese.
(Via interpreter) Portugal has attracted increasing trade from (inaudible), from European countries, our nearest neighbors, and also from the United States and Canada, from Japan and South Korea, African countries that have helped to develop our economy. We also had a lot of investment from China, particularly in energy, electricity, banking, (inaudible).
(In English) An important investment, not a lot of investment, but still.
(Via interpreter) And all of this investment has to follow the rules of the European community. When we launch tenders and concessions they are open and transparent. And we have the second part of the tender for the containment of (inaudible). We hope that (inaudible) the United States (inaudible). But the economy has to be subordinated to politics and national security and in telecommunications, especially in regards to 5G. We have three large telecommunications operators in Portugal – one British, one French, and one Portuguese Angolan. All will have to comply with Portuguese legislation and that of the EU, and we hope that will continue to do so.
MODERATOR: (In Portuguese.)
QUESTION: Good morning to you both. Courtney McBride with The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Foreign Minister, the United States recently declared that it does not consider Israeli settlements a violation of international law, and I was wondering did this come up today in your discussions with Mr. Pompeo, and how would Portugal respond if Israel were to annex the Jordan Valley or other West Bank settlements?
And to Mr. Secretary, what is the U.S. position on whether Israel has the right to annex most of the Jordan Valley? Did you discuss that last night with Prime Minister Netanyahu?
And finally, the impeachment report says that you were, quote, “a knowledgeable or an active participant to extract from a foreign nation the political benefits sought by the president,” end quote, in Ukraine. What is your response and did you know how much Rudy Giuliani was influencing policy? Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER SILVA: Thank you. Thank you for your question. As you know, certainly we don’t share the American position on Israeli settlements – we, the Portuguese, and we, the Americans.
Of course, one of the reasons why our bilateral meetings are so productive is that we focus on what converge – on the issues in which we converge and our agendas in which we can both add value. We respect, of course, the American position and the Americans respect the European and the Portuguese position. Thank you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, and I’d reiterate that. We’ve got different views on this issue. The prime minister and I did speak about the decision that the State Department made now several weeks back, and our position was very clear with respect to settlements. We concluded, as a matter of international law, that they are not, per se, illegal, and we have that right. We’re confident in that. And that applies to all of the settlement activity.
Your second question had as a basis for the question some language that you suggested was in the report. I’ll answer only this: it’s just all wrong.
FOREIGN MINISTER SILVA: Thank you very much. Shall we shake hands?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, sir.
FOREIGN MINISTER SILVA: Thank you. Thank you so much.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, all.