Good morning. It is my pleasure to be here today as we begin. this workshop on improving regional responses to transnational

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1 REMARKS BY AMBASSADOR SCOTT DELISI Africa Center for Strategic Studies Sheraton Hotel Rwenzori Ballroom January 28, 2013, 11:30 a.m. [Protocol list of invitees] All protocols observed. Good morning. It is my pleasure to be here today as we begin this workshop on improving regional responses to transnational and irregular threats in eastern Africa. I would like to thank the Africa Center for Strategic Studies and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, who collaborated to organize this timely program, and to the Government of Uganda for co-hosting the workshop in Kampala. I would also like to thank all of you for your participation. The discussions and ideas you generate this week will be invaluable as we consider how to best work together to combat transnational threats. 1

2 Some skeptics may ask what interest the United States has in Africa s security and stability. To them I say a healthy, peaceful, democratic and prosperous Africa is very much in the U.S. national interest. President Obama made that clear in his Presidential Policy Directive on sub-saharan Africa when he said as we look toward the future, it is clear that Africa is more important than ever to the security and prosperity of the international community, and to the United States in particular. The President s strategy rests on four pillars: Strengthening Democratic Institutions; Spurring Economic Growth, Trade and Investment; Advancing Peace and Security; and Promoting Opportunity and Development. These four pillars are both interdependent and mutually reinforcing. None can be fully successful without the others. 2

3 Just as our goals are dependent upon each other, so are we. In today s increasingly interconnected world, a threat to one nation is often a threat to all nations. We want to see strong African nations capable of robustly participating in trade, commerce, and all the other activities that have propelled so many countries forward throughout history. Just as the United States benefitted from unprecedented periods of peace and prosperity in Europe and Asia, so too will the whole world benefit from the same in Africa. While the aspirations of African nations are not new, we recognize that many of the challenges they face certainly are. In today's world, even as the specter of nations at war with each other has becomes less common, we are confronted by a growing menace posed by transnational threats. Issues such as disease, trafficking, the environment, and terrorism - once considered 3

4 secondary in the world of geo-politics - are now central to the thinking of world leaders on a daily basis. The world has changed, and we are changing with it. There are new threats, often interacting in dangerous ways. Just as the threats are new, so must our solutions be. Just as the threats interact and feed off of each other, so must our solutions interact and reinforce each other. And given the transnational nature of these threats partnership between nations will be, must be, robust and meaningful if we are to counter the threats effectively. During this workshop, you will have the chance to address many of these challenges; challenges that you face every day as representatives of eastern African governments, regional economic communities, and regional multilateral organizations. In this region: 4

5 Poverty and health concerns have limited some countries ability to take advantage of the benefits of a globalized world. Trafficking in drugs, arms, and persons are taxing the resources of the region s governments and societies. Toxic waste dumping and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing have resulted in dire environmental costs. And violent non-state actors from pirates at sea to insurgents and terrorists on land have emerged and posed an enduring threat to peace. These transnational and irregular threats are both the result, and the continuing cause, of larger security problems across 5

6 eastern Africa. The challenges have both generated and exacerbated problems related to insidious corruption, economic underdevelopment, national fragmentation, and state fragility. And they cannot be solved by any single nation acting alone. The U.S. Government recognizes that threats to your security are in fact threats to our own. We already know that terrorist groups who find safe haven far from our shores can have a global reach. At the same time we must also recognize that in a world of modern air travel, local diseases can quickly and easily be spread far beyond their origin; the routes that traffickers use to get small arms to cattle rustlers could one day serve violent extremists looking to move weapons of mass destruction through the region; and, left unchecked, environmental degradation and poaching could lead to the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources, the disruption of global ecosystems, and decimation of the biodiversity of species that keeps the planet in balance. 6

7 In the years to come, it will be increasingly critical to reflect upon and take action to counter these transnational and irregular threats. Without this, there will be no effective way to ensure the security of your greatest national asset: your people. Uganda, like all the nations represented here, has faced many of eastern Africa s transnational and irregular threats. For example, Uganda has become a source and destination for trafficked children. Uganda has long fought a long battle with the Lord s Resistance Army which ranges across borders in the region. And not far from where we now sit, the Somali terrorist organization Al-Shabaab bombed two sites in Uganda in July But Uganda s leaders have shown great initiative and have played a central role in developing regional responses to these 7

8 transnational challenges. For example, Uganda has been a strong troop contributor to AMISOM, the African Union s Mission in Somalia, which has fought for years to bring peace and stability to that troubled eastern African nation. More recently, Uganda has joined forces with its neighbors to the north in the AU s Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the LRA. And Uganda has been an important and enduring member of several regional multilateral organizations, including the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the East African Community, COMESA, and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, with the last two currently under President Museveni's leadership. These regional African communities have made great efforts and strides toward peace and security cooperation in recent years. Progress such as this is commendable, and we applaud 8

9 it. However, it is also fragile. As nations move forward to address threats to peace and stability, they must also ensure that the tools they use to combat these threats do not become the threats themselves. Strong, professional militaries are essential to regional security. Security, in turn, is essential to development as it allows economies to prosper and democratic institutions to grow. If, however, those militaries threaten that prosperity, if they do not support the democratic institutions they are meant to uphold, then the foundation of our efforts crumbles, and East Africa risks falling back into the bloody cycle of revolution and counter-revolution. We don t want to see any nation descend into the morass of problems generated by poverty, infectious disease, and unchecked conflict. We want East Africa to be successful, to be healthy, to grow economically, to protect its people, and to reduce 9

10 tensions that can lead to conflict. We want a set of partners we can engage with to combat our shared twenty-first century challenges. For that, you must have vision - the vision to look beyond minor disagreements and the prospect of short-term personal or national gain to the broader possibility of real, lasting success. As President Obama said Africa and its people are partners with America in creating the future we want for all of our children a future that is grounded in growth, mutual responsibility, and mutual respect. While we may bring different concerns to the table or focus on different dimensions of these problems, as the threats converge and escalate in our increasingly globalized world, we must find answers to these challenges together. It is in workshops like this, in which professionals can discuss openly and frankly the best 10

11 ways forward, that common purpose is forged and common solutions are found. The challenges are real, they are serious and they must be met. They put good governance, stability, economic growth, and overall societal well-being at risk. Your understanding of the threats must be comprehensive and deep, and your responses must be as strong and as committed as if a foreign army was poised on your borders threatening your nation's future -- for that is exactly what these new, but oh-so-serious, threats do. On these new battlefields you can, through your engagement, ensure a better future for your children, your families, and your countries, and you will not fight alone -- the United States sees the challenges, shares the risks, and we will stand with you in efforts to overcome them. 11

12 12 Thank you. I wish you the best in your deliberations.

13 Drafted by BNicholson, OSC Cleared by: ECrane, PDS 13

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