Secretary Michael R. Pompeo And Angolan Minister of External Relations Manuel Augusto At a Joint Press Availability
Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State
Ministry of External Affairs
MODERATOR: (Via interpretation) I’ll give the floor to His Excellency Manuel Augusto, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Angola, followed by remarks from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Minister Manuel Augusto, you have the floor.
MINISTER AUGUSTO: (Via interpretation) Good morning, members of the media. Good morning, members of both countries’ delegations. It’s a great honor to receive – here in our country, His Excellency Secretary of State of the United States of America Mike Pompeo, who decided to visit our country as a sign of eye-level relations that exist between both countries. So during this visit, that we consider of – good visit because of the intense discussion as well as the imports of its contents. The United States of America and Angola are strategic partners, and they’ve been trying to reinforce this special status, dialogue, as it provide at eye-most level. At the same time, in the business effort, operators of both countries do accrue the respective chain of commerce, they’ll be able to materialize this relations – inter-related into projects and potential economic, tech, and scientific cooperation between both countries.
Having here before us Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, it’s also good for the Angolan Government because we want to believe that his presence is also sign of the support of President Donald Trump administration, support to the program of the government of President Joao Lourenco, and above all, the reforms that the President Joao Lourenco have been making in the country, with the name of giving Angola the possibility of reaffirming their role in the council of nations – the nations councils and (inaudible) butlership. That’s the investment that we need so that the Angolan economy becomes once again powerful in true that we can create conditions for the improvement of the living conditions of the people each in Angola. The visit of Secretary Mike Pompeo closes a great chapter in hope that, at the end, it also means a new relation between both country in bilateral terms, and its cooperation at multilateral levels. Welcome, Secretary of State.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, foreign minister. Good afternoon, everyone. It’s great to be with you all. My visit here to Angola comes at a pivotal moment in its history. Last fall, President Lourenco shared his vision of a new Angola – government business, civil society – and the great Angolan people are clearly ready for change. They want to engage with Western democratic countries in ways that weren’t possible even just a few years ago. That’s why I’m here. The United States is eager to partner with you in so many good ways. I’ve now had a chance to meet with the foreign minister, I – we met in Washington just several months ago, in August, to discuss our strategic partnership and democratic institutions. My meetings today with both the foreign minister and with the president strengthened our ties. We want Angola’s future to be sovereign, prosperous, and peaceful. We talked first about moving beyond the corruption that’s stunted this nation’s vast potential for far too long.
During his first two and a half years in office, President Lourenco has done great work to make it a ghost of the past. He’s increased transparency, he’s helped financial institutions clean up their books, and he’s pursued bad actors. I’m optimistic that he will continue to liberate Angola from corruption. I’m also encouraged by his efforts to privatize (inaudible) state-owned enterprises, a move that will greatly, greatly attract private investment. In October, a group led by the American company Chevron announced a $2 billion investment to support new off-shore natural gas fields. If parliament’s new private investment law is implemented transparently and faithfully, then many, many more American businesses, many, many more Western businesses will come to Angola and create wealth, jobs, and opportunity for the Angolan people.
But later this afternoon, I’ll have a chance to discuss with business leaders the opportunities that they see here in Angola. I’ll engage with them because this will help the Angolan people develop their resources, diversify in Angola’s – the Angolan economy, and enhance its agricultural tourism and technology sectors. Continuing the reform agenda will also help support women entrepreneurs like the wonderful women that I had the chance to meet with this morning who shared their vision, their dreams of how they can grow their businesses and do good for the Angolan people as well. And when we do these kinds of things, this creates partnerships. It creates partnerships across the board.
And I want to talk for a minute about global health. PEPFAR programs are helping save pregnant Angolan women and children at risk of HIV infection and transmission. Largely in thanks to the President’s Malaria Initiative, the number of malaria deaths in Angola has been cut in half in just the past few years. The tens of thousands of Angolans alive today because of these efforts can now achieve their God-given potential. Beyond economics and health, the United States is eager to partner more on security as well. We welcomed Angola’s first-ever deployment of peacekeepers to help stabilize Lesotho in 2017. Security for Angola goes hand in hand with allowing for civil society to flourish – journalists, businesspeople, churches – any number of organizations should be able to work, to grow, and to be heard without fear. The new government’s actions, Mr. Foreign Minister, are something you should be proud of. What’s been done in the last four years gives the United States great relief to continue to expand our ties, and they give the Angolan people a reason for optimism. They should continue, and I look forward to the United States being a partner. Thank you.
MODERATOR: (Via interpretation) Now, with the matter of press conference, is a brief Q&A session. I have on my right Morgan Ortagus. She’s the spokesperson of the U.S. State Department, whom I’ll give the floor to ask the first question to the journalist.
MS ORTAGUS: Thank you. Courtney McBride, Wall Street Journal.
QUESTION: Thank you both. Mr. Foreign Minister, President Lourenco has a reform agenda – you’ve talked about wanting to attract further American investments. But there is a U.S. company that claims that the former president’s administration misappropriated its property, and that your government reneged on the settlement agreement that has involved some interest from members of the U.S. Congress. Just wondering, how do you respond to these claims by the Africa Growth Corporation, and did you and the Secretary discuss the matter today? And to Secretary Pompeo, four of the six countries on which the U.S. recently imposed travel restrictions are in Africa. How do you reconcile that with the administration’s stated commitment to further engagement with Africa, particularly in contrast to the model used by China? Thank you.
MINISTER AUGUSTO: Mine is easier. In August, in Washington, at the Atlantic Council, I answered this question. And what I can say is that there is no litigation between the Government of Angola and the American company. We know of a case of one American company was in Angola working with the Angolan partner. They broke up, and they are trying to solve their problems as partners.
The Angolan Government, because care for everything who can contribute to our better environment, business, namely in the relation between Angola and the United States, at one stage tried to help these two partners – Angolan and American partners – to solve their problems. But the government was taken wrongly by the American company, which even sued the Government of Angola, but one District Court in New York dismissed with prejudice this case. So there is no case between us. And by the way, let’s say that some of the major American companies are in Angola for decades, and as far as we know, there is not any claim. So we are very much comfortable with the presence of the American companies.
SECRETARY POMPEO: There is nothing that conflicts between America’s need to be sure that the people that are coming in and out of the United States – we know who they are, we know who they’re traveling – every nation has a sovereign obligation to ensure that they do that. Angola protects its border, every country does that. That in no way conflicts with America’s deep desire to get – increase our contacts, partnerships here with Angola and all throughout Africa. In fact, you can see it, the data set’s very clear. You can see increased investment. You can see it in ways that are important to liberate the people of this region, to liberate Angola, that we – you can see that our investments are transparent, they’re clean.
We don’t impose debt burdens that nations can’t resolve. You suggested somehow this was different than the Chinese model. I’ll leave others to make that analysis, but I can tell you how America operates. When we come, we hire Angolans. When we come to Angola, we show up with money that will benefit the Angolan people. Our companies will do well too. These are private sector companies that come – we do high-quality work. It’s transparent; it benefits the people of that country. Not every nation that comes here to invest does that. There’s no political objective. We’re trying to do good things for our company and good things for the people of Angola.
That’s the model we use, and the President’s efforts to make sure that we get our travel situation right – we set out clear rules and say here’s the things you need to comply with in order to travel to the United States – passport control, simple things – and we work alongside to provide technological help so that these countries can achieve those objectives. And when we do, those people will be permitted to travel to the United States and succeed and come participate in our economy in the United States of America in a way that every other country can as well.
We’re committed. I came here, I wanted to make this trip to Angola for a very special reason at a very special time. There’s enormous opportunity here. America wants to be a big part of trying to assist in that because we think it will improve not only Angola’s prosperity, security, and peace, but it will be good for the United States as well.
QUESTION: (Via interpretation) Thank you, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. My question is the following: Angola has been asking collaboration from countries with the name of (inaudible) the money that – the – money that was taken out of the country illicitly. And two questions: So I would like to know if the U.S. administration is available to collaborate in this effort, and I would like to know if this year we’d witness a meeting between President Donald Trump and President Joao Lourenco. Thank you very much for attention.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you. Your second question’s a good one; I don’t know the answer to that. I appreciate that you all would welcome a visit from President Trump. He’d very much like to get here as well, I know that. When that will happen, goodness knows. It’s a busy year; it’s an election year. So I can’t answer that today. But the president extended an invitation to President Trump to come visit to me, and I’ll make sure and convey that back directly to President Trump as well.
Your first question was about our efforts to help Angola right some – hold some individuals accountable who engaged in corrupt activities here. The answer is yes. We’re committed; we do this all across the world. We want financial transactions all across the world to be clean and transparent, and when we find that those aren’t the case, you can see that the United States will put its resources to bear to try and correct those wrongs. And so we’ll certainly do that to assist Angola as well.