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SAL ISLAND, Capo Verde - I would like to highlight the presence of the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro. His participation in this Summit is a strong signal of U.S. commitment to the partnership for maritime security in our African region.
I extend a very special greeting to all participants in this important Summit. I wish you a pleasant stay among us.
Cabo Verde and the island of Sal warmly welcome you.
It is a distinction for Cabo Verde to host the first Summit of African Maritime Forces.
We are meeting here in Sal, in a framework of strengthening cooperation and cooperative maritime security. In a framework of great trust and friendship between our states and peoples.
We welcome you!
This Summit allows us to exchange experiences, share solutions and strategic commitments for the security of our countries in the seas and oceans that unite us.
The fight against transnational organized crime, drug trafficking, human trafficking, piracy, terrorism, cybercrime, and illegal fishing is an imperative for the economic development, social peace, and stability of the countries.
These are onslaughts, risks and threats from the criminal world that must be fought and overcome permanently with strong and engaged institutions at the level of each country and strong partnerships at the level of the common interests of cooperative security.
Partnership for defense and security is as important as partnership for development. It is, in fact, a condition for development.
The development effort is eroded and undermined when security is not provided and guaranteed to citizens. Worse than that, it can set countries back.
And I am talking about security in the broad sense: security for people and goods, food security, health security, environmental and climate security, security against organized crime and corruption.
It is in this sense that we advocate a greater harmony and commitment between the partnership for development and the partnership for defense and security, in the sense of mutual gains between countries and their global responsibility.
Distinguished participants and guests,
We are holding this Summit in an archipelagic country with two important characteristics: Cabo Verde is much more sea than land due to its vast maritime area; Cabo Verde is more than its nine inhabited islands due to the vast diaspora concentrated in the U.S., Europe and the African Continent.
Our location puts us at the center of the corridor from Brazil to the Gulf of Guinea. We are at the crossroads of the Atlantic, connecting Africa to Europe and the Americas.
This same location and the purpose of maritime security led to the installation on the island of St. Vincent, in 1819, of the first U.S. Navy Squadron on the African continent.
Today, in new times and facing new challenges, Cabo Verde is positioning itself as an interested and useful partner for cooperative security in its relationship with the U.S. and the E.U. and in the framework of African regional integration. This is the reference of our foreign policy and our defense and security policy.
The vast Exclusive Economic Zone and the location, are strong reasons for us to elect maritime security as a high national priority.
We want to promote and leverage our geostrategic position based on and sustained by international maritime planning, always in scrupulous compliance with international standards.
The installation of the Maritime Coordination Center of Zone G in Cape Verde, which is in the operational phase, is an important instrument for the cooperative positioning of our country in strengthening maritime security in the Atlantic region.
In the same sense, Cabo Verde can be a strategic partner for AFRICOM and the United States of America, a country with which we aspire to a more comprehensive and structuring agreement in the field of defense and security.
We recognize important bilateral agreements and achievements, with the U.S. and EU countries, in the training of our military, Coast Guard vessels, military equipment and materials, surveillance and patrolling, and participation in military exercises and joint operations.
Particularly with the U.S., I would like to highlight (1) the Partnership Agreement between Cape Verde and the State of New Hampshire National Guard; (2) the Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Cooperation; and (3) the recent Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation for the Protection and Preventive Security against the entry of persons linked to terrorism, crime, and other security threat situations.
Cabo Verde has made remarkable efforts in investments and training in digital technologies and equipment on air and maritime borders, document security, criminal investigation and transparency and exchange of fiscal information.
Within budget limitations, with the country's own resources, the Coast Guard will be provided with an aircraft for inspection, patrolling, search and rescue and emergency actions to support civil protection.
We wish to strengthen cooperative security cooperation to provide the Coast Guard with helicopters, an important complementary aerial means for an archipelagic country with Cabo Verde's orography and extensive coastal and maritime area.
Naval resources must also be reinforced, including the technical and financial capacity to maintain vessels.
The surveillance of our extensive maritime area, for reasons of security and economic protection, is very demanding and also requires more sophisticated technological support such as satellite support to provide relevant information.
Maritime security and the alliance for defense and security are central elements of the new strategic concept for defense and security under preparation.
I conclude by reinforcing the conviction that the world needs more than ever strategic, assertive, durable, predictable, and impactful partnerships for maritime security and global safety.
I hope this Summit will contribute to that.
I express our support and willingness to host other summits and initiatives, which are of utmost importance to our states and peoples.
I wish you all a great stay with us.
Thank you very much.
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