Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Angolan Foreign Minister Téte António at a Joint Press Availability

REMARKS TO THE PRESS

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE

ANGOLAN FOREIGN MINISTER TÉTE ANTÓNIO

MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL RELATIONS

LUANDA, ANGOLA

JANUARY 25, 2024

MODERATOR:  (Via interpreter) His Excellency Antony Blinken, Secretary of State of the United States of America; His Excellency Ambassador Téte António, Minister of External Relations of the Republic of Angola; distinguished members of both delegations; dear journalists – good afternoon, and welcome to the (inaudible) auditorium here at the headquarters of the Angolan diplomacy.

Excellencies, we know that you were shortly in the presidential palace at – and meeting with His Excellency João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, the President of the Republic of Angola, where surely issues of common interest were discussed; regional and international issues also were deliberated. At this auditorium we have the Angolan media resident and the U.S. correspondent who are eager to record and publish this essential visit.  I therefore ask your excellencies to summarize what was discussed, the conversation just concluded, starting with His Excellency Blinken, the Secretary of State of the United States of America, and then followed by Minister Téte António, Minister of External Relations of the Republic of Angola.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  (Inaudible.)  Ah, there we go.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

We started our trip in Cabo Verde.  We were then in Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and now here in Angola.  And I have to note at the outset that while we were in Cote d’Ivoire, I had an opportunity to participate in viewing one of the matches in the Cup of Nations, and of course as a diplomat, I would never take sides in this competition, but I have to note the extremely strong results thus far in the tournament of the Palancas Negras.  (Laughter.)  And we’ll see what happens, but they’re off to a very, very good start. Foreign Minister Téte, thank you so much for the warm welcome today.  It’s wonderful to make this trip to Angola as Secretary, and I especially want to thank President Lourenço for the very productive, important conversation that we’ve had, all (inaudible) dedicated, and the substance of our conversation.

I’m here in Angola and here in Africa as part of this four-country trip because we see America’s future and Africa’s future as joined.  Our peoples are joined; our prosperity and success in the future is linked.  African voices are shaping this century and leading on issues of global importance, including issues that matter to both of our peoples and their lives, from shared prosperity to dealing with climate change, to building greater food security.  And that’s clearly true here in Angola.

At the White House in November, President Biden reaffirmed to President Lourenço that this is a historic moment for the partnership between the United States and Angola.  Our relationship is stronger, it’s more consequential, it’s farther-reaching than at any point in our 30-year friendship.  And at this transformational moment, President Biden asked me to come to Luanda to help build on and accelerate our progress.

One of the most successful and dynamic demonstrations of this partnership between our countries – and we can see it in action – is our work to expand the critical Lobito Corridor that links Angola, Zambia, and the DRC.  We’re doing that through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment.  This project has genuinely transformative potential for this nation, for this region, and – I would argue – for the world.  It will spur investment in underdeveloped sectors like telecommunications and agriculture.  It will secure critical mineral supply chains that are essential to the economic futures of all of our countries, our industries, our workers, and our climate ambitions.  And it will more effectively connect Angola and its neighbors to global markets.

The United States has committed funding to refurbish the existing 1,300-kilometer Lobito Atlantic Rail Line, and we’ve taken the first steps to build out 800 kilometers of new rail (inaudible), including through a consortium with Angola and six other partners.  I had a chance today to see some of the dramatic progress that’s already being made in building out this corridor.  It is moving faster and further, I think, than we even might have imagined when we set out to do it.  That rail investment, which is the biggest investment the United States has made in railways on the African continent in well over a generation, is at the heart of our Partnership for Global Investment and Infrastructure work in Angola.

But – and I saw this today as well – we’re also looking beyond rail, investing in additional projects that will together catalyze even more growth and even more prosperity.  We’re investing in a multi-billion-dollar solar energy project, which will provide clean electricity to half a million homes.  It’ll, in so doing, create thousands of local jobs and support the U.S. manufacture of solar equipment.  We’re helping construct steel bridges that will link communities across the country.  We’re supporting a project to connect people without traditional banking to mobile money applications.  That includes family farmers who will now have access to capital that they can invest in more efficient food production (inaudible).

Food security is one of the areas that’s genuinely foundational to our partnership with Angola as well as with countries around the continent.  One of the things that I’ve heard time and again from our partners, at a time when we’ve had an almost perfect storm leading to greater food insecurity – climate change, then COVID, and then conflict, including the Russian aggression against Ukraine – one of the things I’ve heard time and again is, as important and as greatly appreciated as emergency assistance is, what partners are really looking for is to build their own sustainable productive capacity. So that’s exactly what the United States is supporting: building long-term sustainable production in Africa, for Africans and, ultimately, for the rest of the world.  We can assure that African countries not only meet their own needs but can meet the needs of many others as well.

We’re going to work with Angola and with the International Fund for Agriculture Development through a new initiative that we have, our Vision for Adapted Crops and Soil, or VACS, part of USAID’s flagship Feed the Future program.  VACS rethinks what, where, and how we produce food in the face especially of the climate crisis.  It invests above ground, identifying the indigenous African crops that are most nutritious and most resilient to climate change, improves these varieties, and then delivers them to consumers and markets.  But it also invests below ground, mapping, conserving, building healthy soils.

Of course, we also discussed the challenges that we face in the region and beyond to security as well as to democracy.  The United States very much appreciates President Lourenço’s continued efforts to de-escalate tensions between Rwanda and the DRC.  We believe that the Luanda Process in tandem with the Nairobi Process is the best hope for enduring peace.  Angola is trusted by all sides; President Lourenço’s leadership is vital for a breakthrough.  Today, we had a chance to discuss that with the president, with the foreign minister, including meaningful steps that can be taken toward peace. And we discussed other challenges on the continent.  We’ll continue to count on partners like Angola to address democratic backsliding in the region and follow through on their commitments on civil society, free and fair elections, and other pillars of democracy in our countries.

Finally, we spoke about our partnership beyond the continent, including through the Partnership for Atlantic Cooperation.  That coalition is bringing together 34 countries – excuse me, 32 countries throughout the Atlantic to drive blue economic development, protect our shared environment, collaborate on science and technology in ways that benefit everyone.  Angola is taking a lead on tackling some of the biggest shared ocean-related challenges; it will soon co-chair the Marine Spatial Planning working group, which will help sustainably develop the region’s blue economies.

Finally, we’re thrilled that Angola is now the 33rd country to join the Artemis Accords.  These are a set of practical principles to guide the safe, peaceful, and sustainable exploration of space for the benefit of all humankind.  I had a chance to visit the new science museum today here in Luanda, which is a wonderful facility, and I can just see generations of young Angolans having their own horizons expanded.  But I think it’s also powerfully symbolic for the Artemis Accords that our partnership, our relationship is both literally as well as figuratively reaching new heights.  We couldn’t be more pleased with that and grateful for it. So Mr. Foreign Minister, Téte, thank you for this very warm welcome.  Thank you for the quality of our conversations and the work we’re doing together.  It’s very good to be here.  Thank you. FOREIGN MINISTER ANTÓNIO:  (Via interpreter) Thank you very much, Mr. Antony.  You almost have said all the content of my speech, because you’ve said everything that we’ve been doing together as countries.  But mainly, I have to thank you for having chosen Angola as a destination – one of the destinations during your trip to Africa.  And also I’d like to thank for the way that his excellency the president of the republic has said he was received in Washington, D.C., and also in the same token to thank on how you received us when I went to Washington, D.C., to meet you at the State Department for a very long period of time where we discussed various issues.

We think that if we are to celebrate the 30 years of relationship with the U.S. last year, we consider that now we have gotten into a crucial stage, which is the stage of implementation of various agreements that we’ve signed.  We have 15 legal instruments that we’ve signed with the U.S.  We have established cooperation mechanisms that range from general policy to a memorandum on strategic partnership and goes down to sectoral dialogues.  And I believe that sectoral dialogues are very important, and we are satisfied that the results that we are seeing today on the ground are the aftermath of sectoral dialogues.  And we have to encourage those other sectors that need much more action amongst us, such as the vision that Secretary Blinken has mentioned, the VACS.

So we think that food security is key to development.  Within the framework of our economy diversification, agriculture has an outstanding role to play.  And we have plans that we have adopted as a country, and these plans surely – such as Planagrão, which is the plan of cereals and the plan of livestock.  These will also benefit from this strategic partnership.

Secondly is the topic of knowledge transfer.  This has been discussed, which would be the best investment that we can make in a country, because we acknowledge we can bring all kind of competencies and all sectors, but it will not be possible to achieve tangible results, because in order to translate them into practice, we need knowledge.

You have mentioned other sectors such as health, telecommunications.  We are making progresses with the U.S. Africell company, and energy also has been discussed.  And of course, Lobito Corridor is the flagbearer in terms of our domestic and foreign action, given its impact, and above all we have interest of bringing in private sector in order to look at Angola as one of crucial destinations, but also looking at Angola as a well-located country strategically.  Angola is located between the Central and Southern African regions, and with Lobito Corridor we believe we can have the biggest ambition, apart from its multiplying effect as an enterprise, that is translated into logistical bases that we’re creating – agriculture – and the possibility of having a major regional integration, and therefore a bigger market.  So that would lead us to materialize the ambition of having the two oceans – the Atlantic and the ocean connected.

So this is a great potential that it represents, and we also appreciate our cooperation in regional issues.  And I believe that all efforts that the president of the republic, João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, has been conducting – who is the champion for peace and national reconciliation in Africa – and in this capacity, we also have added responsibility, and everything that we do complements the activities of the UN Security Council.  Therefore, the support of U.S. to Angola is important by leveraging and supporting those activities that we are undertaking.

Lastly, the Security Council – we have been following attentively the work that has just been termed, the adoption by the UN Security Council about the resolution on a peacekeeping mission deployed by African Union and its funding.  This is a great milestone.  Of course, we have not achieved as much as we wanted to; we have achieved 75 percent.  But that can constitute a basis for us to having the continent benefiting from this effort.  Because indeed, everything that we do in trying to find peace in the region is done on behalf of the international community.

So that’s all I had to say at this point in time.

MODERATOR:  (Via interpreter) Thank you, Excellencies.  After concluding the addresses by the two entities, the coming moment is for questions and answers.  I would appreciate it if the four selected journalists introduce themselves, give their names, and the entity they represent, asking their question remembering that there are only two questions for the Angolan press and two questions for the American press.

QUESTION:  (Via interpreter) Good afternoon.  My name is Candido Calombe from the Angolan Public Television.  My question is addressed to – to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.  First, I’d like to know if there is plan and talks for President Biden to visit Angola.  And the other question:  Apart from the investment mentioned, is there another portfolio to support the country?

Minister Téte António, I would like to know:  With this strengthening of strategic partnership, will be Angola in a position to mobilize U.S. investors to come and invest in our country?  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you very much.  I know because President Biden raises it so frequently that he would welcome an opportunity to come here.  Of course, we have an election this year in the United States, so there are challenges to schedules, but I know from both the importance that he attaches to the relationship, the truly historic meeting between President Lourenço and President Biden in Washington, and all of our efforts here that I know he’d look forward to doing that at some point in the future.

At the same time, we’ve had – to Africa as well as to Angola specifically – a number of the President’s most senior advisors coming, visiting, and working closely together.  I’m very pleased that I’ve had the opportunity to be here today, but of course the Secretary of Defense was here, other senior officials have been here, and we look forward to continuing that work together and also receiving our friends in Washington, as we did with Téte recently.

In terms of what we’re doing together, as I said, it’s reached a depth and a breadth that we’ve never seen before in the relationship over 30 years.  I’ve mentioned some of the areas where we’re working together and supporting each other.  The Lobito Corridor, as I said, is probably the most powerful, concrete example because it brings together so much, not just the physical infrastructure and physical connections but digital as well.  And also dealing with the climate challenge through (inaudible).

And in doing that, it’s creating more good jobs here in Angola, and it’s creating greater – greater opportunity as we address these challenges.  It’s also making Angola, I think, a hub – a hub for transportation, a hub for communications, and in so many ways it’s at the foundation of what we’re doing.  But even as we’re doing that, we’re working more broadly to attract more private sector investment (inaudible) the tools of the United States Government to support that, and I expect that we’ll see even more in the time to come.

The efforts that President Lourenço is making, including combatting corruption, is also critical because it creates the best possible investment environment.  Finally, I just want to emphasize something that Téte said because I think it’s so important.  The assistance that the United States can provide, the investment we can generate, they’re usually important and we will continue to do that.  But maybe even more important:  The way we do things together really is through the transfer of knowledge, the building up of capacity, of expertise, because that’s the single best way to ensure that going forward and in the future our friends and partners can really do everything that they need to do for themselves as well as for others in the world.

And that’s really at the heart of the relationship, whether it’s economic, whether it’s security, whether it’s on democracy, it’s sharing the experience that we’ve had, sharing the knowledge, the expertise that we’ve built up, and hopefully having that strengthen the capacity of our partners.  I – one thing I hope we see in the future, by the way, is even more exchange between us, between our peoples, starting with education – which is the first and most important way to transfer knowledge.  So we look forward to that as well.  Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER ANTÓNIO:  (Via interpreter)  Thank you.  Just to complement what Mr. Antony has just said with regard to invitation – invitation to President Biden has been extended.  We know that the trip of a head of state relies on various factors, and we all know and understand what these factors are.  And with regard to the coming of more U.S. companies, the role of diplomats is to pave the ways and establishing the environment for political and diplomatic relationship between countries so that the rest of sectors of society can follow suit.  And I believe this is our duty with Mr. Blinken.  That is what he’s doing apart from other issues of common concern.

With regard to bilateral relations, this is a determining factor showing that the level of relationship that we’ve achieved already says about – says it all about the existence of good business environment so that U.S. investors and also Angolan investors do not forget that this is a two-way relationship we have constituting courage, our entrepreneurs, to take heed of the opportunities in the U.S.

Now, with regard to private sector, our belief is two.  We know that in our transformation agenda it is based on belief on the private sector, and that means we believe on the role of private sectors that is about U.S. companies that would be willing to invest in Angola.  We know that Ambassador Mushingi has a very good checklist, and that checklist, which he checks every day, will grow a lot as from now on.  And I believe this is the role that we are playing over here, and we believe that all of us do trust in this good relationship between the two countries that will generate a good business environment.

QUESTION:  Thank you, Mr. Secretary.  Thank you, Mr. Minister for having us.  Mr. Secretary, could – Shaun Tandon with AFP.  Mr. Secretary, could I follow up on a couple of things you mentioned in your opening remarks?  You mentioned DRC and Rwanda, and Mr. Minister, you mentioned that as well – the efforts by the president.  How hopeful are you that there could be more stability now?  You’ve spoken with Presidents Kagame and Tshisekedi in recent weeks.  Previous attempts to end the violence have not succeeded.  How optimistic are you that this could succeed now?

Could I also follow up – you mentioned democracy.  Opposition groups have called for the holding of local elections here in Angola.  Is that something that’s come up?  To what extent did you discuss the situation here?  And Mr. Secretary, if I could also – something slightly further afield – but we’re expecting a decision soon from the International Court of Justice regarding the suit filed by South Africa on Israel.  I know you’ve earlier said that it’s meritless.  Does that judgement still stand?  How does this in a long term affect relations with South Africa, that they brought it forward?  Thanks very much.  Obrigado.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Shaun, thank you very much.  So first, with regard to the DRC and Rwanda, as you know, we work closely together with our partners first and foremost to get through the recent election period in the DRC.  And I think as a result of some of the work that we did – and notably the work that the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines did in working with Assistant Secretary of State Molly Phee, putting together a mechanism so that all sides were sharing information in real time and that there were no miscalculations made about what was happening on the ground – that was successful, I think, in helping making sure that we got through the election period.

Now that the election is done, we believe that it’s an important moment to try to forge forward with diplomacy and particularly with the processes that have been established, notably Rwanda and also Nairobi, to work toward a durable peace.  And that’s exactly what we talked to President Lourenço about today.  I think in that effort Angola plays – and the president plays – an essential role, because President Lourenço is trusted by all sides.  And that’s vital.  That’s the most important currency that we have. And so we talked about concrete ways to have that process move forward.  And I – as you said, I had the opportunity to speak both to the president of the DRC and the president of Rwanda just in recent days.  We’re going to continue our intense engagement in support of efforts that our African partners are making.  I don’t want to evaluate prospects, but we did talk about concrete steps today with President Lourenço that could be taken to move the diplomatic track forward.  And I think that’s essential.

With regard to Angola itself, we also had a good conversation with President Lourenço about some of the work that he’s doing here at home in his own leadership.  I mentioned the (inaudible) that are being made to combat corruption and how important that is, first and foremost, for the Angolan people, but it’s also important in terms of attracting foreign investment.

But we also discussed the way forward, including in local elections and including continuing to expand the space for media.  The president noted that he’s just about to open a second academy to train journalists – there’s already one here in Luanda – and we think that’s an important and positive trajectory.

With the – with regard to the ICJ, look, I’m not going to get ahead of the opinion.  You know our views on the on the case; those views stand.  And of course, our relationship with South Africa is vitally important, and it is a very broad and deep relationship covering many, many issues.  So whether or not we have a disagreement on one particular matter doesn’t take away from the important work that we’re doing together in so many other areas and that we’ll continue.

FOREIGN MINISTER António:  (Via interpreter) I don’t know if you are still waiting for an answer from my side after the answer given by Mr. Blinken.  Just to say that the way towards peace is not a straightforward line.  It’s not a straight line.  This can find a lot of variation.  If we were in mathematics, a graph, it is never straight.  So as I said in my speech, we have been benefiting from U.S. activities towards the same actors.  I believe those who were in Luanda yesterday and followed the news have learned that the president of the republic spoke with President Felix Tshisekedi and President Paul Kagame.  That means the Luanda Process is still on and it is still engaged in the search for peace, mainly in the eastern DRC.

Of course, all peace processes go through various stages.  We know the history of that country.  And our task is not only to continue working with the parties, but also a hope that regional efforts – I’m talking about Nairobi Process with which we’ve been coordinating – there has to be some harmonization.  That’s why Luanda was the capital that hosted the Quadripartite Summit that aimed at harmonizing the initiatives.  So I still believe that these efforts are still valid, and we’ll continue to do them in order to help the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is not only neighboring country, but also a strategic country for Africa, for the world at large, can find peace.

QUESTION:  (Via interpreter)  Good afternoon.  I am Sany Funche from the Angolan national radio.  I would like to address my question to the U.S. Secretary of State to know whether the U.S. supports the initiatives by African leaders needed to bring about a change in the UN Security Council, a reform that will allow Africans to have a more active voice.

To the minister of external relations, I would like to know what understandings have been achieved after this visit by the U.S. Secretary of State?  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you very much.  And the short answer to your question is: yes.  You may have heard President Biden speak to this at the General Assembly in New York this past year.  The United States supports reform in the Security Council.  We want to make sure that the Security Council and, for that matter, other international institutions and organizations, reflect today’s realities, not just the realities that existed when those organizations were created, many – in some cases many, many decades ago.  And so we believe the Security Council needs to be more representative and to include African voices.

We’ve made some progress in that general direction this year, as you know, with American leadership.  The African Union was integrated into the G20.  But Security Council reform is critical, and the President’s spoken to it – but not only speaking to it, we’re going to try to work to act on it this year working with partners in Africa, and of course working with other members of the existing Security Council, to try to move forward on reform.

FOREIGN MINISTER António: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much.  Just to complement on the issue of the UN Security Council reform, that also was one of the issues discussed in the meeting with the president of the republic.  We may recall that the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit had this as one of the most important topics in the speech by President Biden.  So this is the attention that the U.S. had been attaching to the request by the African continent, mainly in the framework of the Ezulwini Consensus that has to do with Africa’s position towards the UN Security Council reform.

Secondly, about the understandings, I believe that the main understanding is for us to continue working in those fields that have been mentioned already and continue to encourage and animate our relationship with the U.S. on those issues that we think that we have not yet made big progress such as – we were talking a while ago about how know-how transfer.  We have signed various agreements, and the motto is the implementation of the main legal instruments that we’ve signed, including the strengthening of sectoral dialogues.

With regard to other issues, namely issue – regional issues, as mentioned here by Mr. Blinken, I think we don’t need to get into details about the next steps to be taken regarding trying to find solution to the Democratic Republic of Congo conflict.  But there is mutual will for us to continue collaborating on this regard.  I believe we can limit ourselves to this understanding, this understanding can be translated into agreement or goodwill, and this goodwill does exist between us in those sectors that we have agreed upon already and those others that we’ll continue pressing on.

QUESTION:  Hi.  Thanks very much to both of you for doing this.  I’m Michael Birnbaum from The Washington Post.  Mr. Secretary, I wanted to ask about this allegation from UNRWA that one of its compounds in Gaza was hit recently and at least 12 people were killed.  And they’re saying that it was hit by tank rounds.  What’s your assessment of whether Israel is responsible for it?  And more broadly, over the last couple of days we’re seeing Israel demolish buildings along the border in Gaza, saying they’re doing that to establish a buffer zone.  That’s something that you’ve pushed them not to do.  How many times do you need to push the Israelis to protect civilians – are they living up to the commitments they’ve made to you – before they actually listen?

And Minister António, I wanted to ask about your sense of – you’ve talked about deepening your partnership, orienting Angola more toward the United States through Lobito Corridor and these other projects you’re talking about today.  What’s your sense of the United States as a partner versus China and Russia, who both clearly have deep relationships in Angola?  And you mentioned last year, standing alongside Sergey Lavrov, that you wanted to avoid a third world war.  How has the war in Ukraine affected your assessment of Russia as a partner?  Brigado.    Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  So with regard to the reports of the incident at the UN facility, first, let me just emphasize again something that we have emphasized from day one, and that is the imperative of protecting civilians and protecting civilian infrastructure, as well as the humanitarian and UN infrastructure that is there in Gaza to help people who are in desperate need.  And the work that the UN is performing in Gaza is quite literally lifesaving, and no one else can do it – no one else is doing it.  And it only underscores the importance of making sure that its facilities – including facilities that it’s erected or is maintaining that are housing the many, many displaced Palestinians until they can go back to their homes and neighborhoods, is essential and it has to be protected.  We’ve reaffirmed this with the Government of Israel, and it’s my understanding that they are, as is necessary and appropriate, looking into this incident.

More broadly with regard to civilian infrastructure and with regard to the contours of Gaza itself, we’ve spoken very clearly about this and will continue to do so, both with the Government of Israel as well as in public.  We do not support any diminution of the territory of Gaza.  And similarly, it’s vitally important that all of the civilian infrastructure be protected as best possible – understanding that this is a war brought about by the horrific attacks by Hamas on October 7th, that Hamas continues to hide in and under civilian infrastructure.  Nonetheless, there’s a responsibility on the part of Israel to do everything possible to protect that infrastructure, and certainly not to destroy it.  So that’s, again, something that we have and will continue to take up with the government.

And as I’ve said from the outset, from these now four months since October 7th, when we have important questions that we’re pursuing, important needs that we’re pursuing – when it comes to humanitarian assistance, when it comes to civilian protection, when it comes to any other aspect of this – it’s an ongoing conversation, an ongoing dialogue.  And sometimes you don’t get results immediately, flipping a light switch.  It’s a process; we’re at it every single day.  And I believe the engagements that we’ve had, the interventions we’ve made, the work that we’ve done, has made a real difference over these past four months – both in terms of humanitarian assistance and civilian protection.

Having said that, the suffering of civilians in Gaza – men, women, and children – remains heartbreaking, and it animates us to do everything we can to try to ensure the best we can that the right steps are being taken to protect civilians and to make sure that they’re getting the assistance that they need.  Let me leave it at that.

FOREIGN MINISTER António:  (Via interpreter) Thank you very much for your question.  With regard to the relationship with Russia, China, and the U.S., first of all I would like to say that Angola is a country that is open to the world.  Maybe I should borrow a word by Mr. Blinken during a visit to West African countries.  He said that in a country that needs so much that everybody has a space to cooperate with that country.  I can’t recall which country was that, but Mr. Blinken is here, can testify to that.  So this also applies to the Republic of Angola.  And knowing our history, in terms of the development and transformation that we want to bring about in this country, but all partnerships that can fit into our needs and our policy in terms of our developmental policy are welcome.

With regard to the fact to which extent the war between Russia and Ukraine affect our relationships, we know that the premises for establishing diplomatic relations are well known, (inaudible) – mutual respect, respect for sovereignty, and non-interference in internal affairs.  These are the basic principles in the relation with Angola, the Republic of Congo, Angola with South Africa, Angola with Russia, or Angola with the United States of America.  These are base principle of all diplomatic relations.  And in these relationship, we can have also different standpoints in our relations.

And we believe as Angola that the best friends are the one who tells the truth, and I believe I could stop here and say that the difference that might exist in our relationship with one or another are applicable to this old adage, saying that the best friend is the one who tells the true.  Where we think that the principle that we’ve just mentioned – or the principles that I’ve mentioned – are not being upheld, and we had to warn our friends.  So this is the way that I’m trying to summarize my response.

With regard to the first question, this is an aspect that I’ve already mentioned.  I had the privilege of borrowing Mr. Antony’s statement on the need of having partnership.  And maybe we should think deeper.  I think it’s wrong when our interpretation for partnership development falls into temptation of saying, “You must leave for me to get in.”  That’s wrong, because in political terms, this could be misinterpreted.  It looks like the partner that we’re going to have has to be under dominion of somebody else, whereas the world lives on complementarity, and this complementarity has various development levels.

Let me just give an example.  Maybe the structure of Angola’s foreign trade with the U.S. might not be the same as that of foreign trade between Angola with Japan, or U.S. with Japan – because the level of development is different.  And in this difference, we will try to find solution for the needs for our development.  So I think we need to think out of the box and not get stuck into those paradigms that are no longer valid in this world of complementarity.  Thank you very much.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you, everyone.

MODERATOR:  (Via interpreter) Excellencies, thank you very much for your responses.  The – journalists, we have come to the close of our press conference.  Thank you very much for having come, and wish you a very good afternoon.