Opening of the African Land Forces Summit

His Excellency Minister of Defense Tine,

Chief of Defense General Sow,

Chiefs of Armies across Africa, General Perkins,

General Williams,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for allowing me the honor to address such a distinguished audience.

As soldiers and diplomats, we stand on common ground to carry out the instructions of our leaders to build security and peace.

Soldiers and diplomats are partners just as Africans and Americans are partners.  We share a common goal of achieving peace, security, and economic prosperity in our societies.

Today we will focus discussions on peace and security, but we all understand that enduring peace and stability are essential prerequisites for economic growth.  Last August, President Barack Obama met with your leaders in Washington.  In outlining a busy agenda, he said “we’re going to have to talk about security and peace…because it’s very hard to attract business investment and it’s very hard to build infrastructure and it’s very hard to sustain entrepreneurship in the midst of a conflict.”

The United States wants to work together with you to create the environment for our farmers, entrepreneurs, government officials, soldiers, scientists, teachers and workers to promote economic prosperity on the African continent.

I wish you well in your work.  I hope that our security cooperation will enhance your abilities to manage Africa’s security challenges so that we can all enjoy the benefits that come from a peaceful, stable, and prosperous region.

In closing, please allow me to thank Minister Tine and General Sow and, through them, President Sall for their wonderful hospitality in hosting this Summit.  In my short time in Senegal, I have learned an important Wolof word – “Teranga” – which is the spirit of warm hospitality that Senegalese extend to visitors.  I am sure that you will enjoy it.