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Diplomacy in Action

Lessons Learned from a New Combatant Command - AFRICOM

FPC Briefing
Ambassador Mary C. Yates
Deputy to the Commander AFRICOM
Foreign Press Center
Washington, DC
May 12, 2009


 
Date: 05/12/2009 Location: Washington, DC Description: Ambassador Mary C. Yates, Deputy to the Commander AFRICOM, Briefing at the Washington Foreign Press Center on
9:30 A.M. EDT

Audio

MODERATOR: Good morning. I’d like to welcome you to our briefing on the AFRICOM, the Command for Africa, by the deputy director of the civil-military affairs --

AMBASSADOR YATES: Activities.

MODERATOR: Yes. Ambassador Yates.

AMBASSADOR YATES: Thank you very much. Thank you, Diana and thank you all for coming this morning. I hope this is going to be an interactive exchange, because I think some of you know about the new Africa Command.

We still find that there’s a lot of learning that’s going on, and I truly feel privileged to have been asked to serve as the first civilian in a military command in a senior position like this. Nothing about it has been easy, but it’s been very rewarding, especially now that we’ve gotten to the October 1, 2008 time period and we are functioning as a unified command, just as the other geographic combatant commands function.

But because I am never sure how much the audience knows, I did the military thing here and picked just six quick slides that I thought I would make mention of so that you have an understanding, and please forgive me if you are well-versed in all things of the Africa Command.

The first slide shows you how, prior to the idea by the Department of Defense to combine three different commands into one, what it looked like. And you know the geographic combatant commands are divided throughout the world – that is, by the Department of Defense – to work on military-to-military relationships. And you can see that the European Command had the largest number of the African countries, but then the Horn of Africa and Egypt was in the Central Command. And the islands of Madagascar – the Seychelles and Mauritius – were part of the Pacific Command, which is way out there in Hawaii.

So, actually, from the time that I headed to Burundi as ambassador in 1999, there was a great deal of discussion that we have too many countries in the European Command with 91, 92 countries, we need to focus on Africa. And then in that intervening decade or decade and a half, Africa has grown in importance and prominence. I think it is a strategic partner, it’s of interest for many reasons, and the countries of Africa have taken on so much responsibility – the growth of so many nations’ GDP, the choice of multiparty democracies. So the signs were there that a command focused on the military-to-military security relations would probably be better served if we geographically re-jiggered it.

So the result is what was stood up as the beginning point in October 1 of ’07. That’s the command. And you see the little different yellow color for Egypt because Egypt is still part of the Central Command for all the obvious reasons. But Egypt is Africa as well. They play an important role in the African Union. They have ambassadors and defense attaches throughout Africa and relations with the African military. So we have our understanding with Egypt, we have had senior military leaders to the command, we’ve been to Egypt, and for the relations that Egypt has with Africa, we are the conduit and the ones that have that dialogue. That was a lengthy one sentence.

Second point: The vision for Africa – and General Ward talks about going around and meeting for over two years with African leaders. What do they want out of this partnership? And so these are the key points of what they’d like to have: to be able to employ capable and military forces; to strengthen their own security institutions – and of course that’s Ambassador Johnson-Sirleaf in Liberia, who is rebuilding an army; to be able to support international peace efforts and peacekeeping; and the ability and will to dissuade, deter, and defeat threat. Those are the repeated themes that the African military has told us, so that informed our thinking.

And then this is our mission statement with the four major goals of reducing conflict, improving security, defeating violent extremism, and supporting crisis response. But the three words in the mission statement that I highlight to you are “sustained security engagement,” the first three words in the third line. That is the mantra that General Ward uses all the time because, up until now, with the last formulation, we were episodic in our military and security engagements on the continent. We were not there in a constant form. And it doesn’t mean we’re automatically going to have all the resources and all the programs we need, but if we concentrate on Africa 24/7, we hope that we will be able to garner enough resources to be able to be a more reliable partner with the African nations.

And the approach over here – again, I think it’s pretty much a repeat– is to build security capacity of the partners; promote strategic relationships, which is certainly valid in the Horn; conduct the civil-military activities – and that is right under my lane – that foster stability; and then, of course, provide crisis response. We are a military command. When directed, we will take actions directed by the Pentagon.

And just a little bit further delineation is the headquarters is in Stuttgart, Germany. That’s in the center. And from ’07 to ’08, we grew from about 100 persons to about 1,300 persons as our joint headquarters.

But the components – and as the military command, the components are the ones that do the exercises, do the training, so each of the services this year are building their component. And if you start MARFORAF, which is the Marine forces for Africa, that’s in Stuttgart. The Air Force Africa in Ramstein is connected to the USAFE. SETAF in Vicenza, that’s the Army. NAVAF is the navy, which of course is a little bit more robust. SOCAF, our Special Forces in Stuttgart. And then we have the task force, the Joint Task Force, the Coalition Task Force in the Horn of Africa in Djibouti.

And then the other part of our team, of course, is the folks that are living and working in Africa in the embassies, and it’s a variety of our office of security defense, security cooperation, the defense attaches. We have bilateral affairs officers where we have the state partnership program, et cetera, et cetera.

But I thought this was a little snapshot, and again, if you knew all of this and more, excuse me for boring you, but at least that brings us to where I’m going to ask you for questions here in just a moment.

What I think is exciting for someone like me, who is a civilian working with the military day in and day out, is in this new structure where we brought in other agencies – we have USAID, we have Treasury, we have State Department officers, and we aren’t replacing those agencies back here in Washington. We’re working with the military as they plan their theater security cooperation program so the programs are more effective, so the humanitarian assistance is more effectively allocated and in support of what USAID is doing on the continent, and what the State Department is doing on the continent.

And to be able to work closely, I’ve watched it grow over the period of these two years, and I’m impressed with how much learning is going on on both sides. And to take that a step further, when I go with my military team into a country – I went to Portugal – I don’t just meet with the ministry of defense. I meet with the ministry of foreign affairs. In the case of Portugal, I met with the minister of interior, the department of justice. Why? Because one of the issues we’re working on is counternarcotics, and in these nations, just as in our nations, it is not the work of the military. It’s the work of many government agencies.

So this whole-of-government approach that we have begun at the Africa Command is a good role model as well, and I’m finding great receptivity. You know, I followed that up – I’m thinking of you with the Lusophone service – I followed up with visits to Mozambique and Angola and more recently Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde. Certainly, the theme of counternarcotics is one theme, but building the security capacity of these nations is as well, certainly with the recent tragic events in Guinea Bissau.

So I can talk and talk and talk, and I feel very honored to be in this position, but I would like to take your questions and see if we can answer some of those. I think you have a copy of the posture statement. And the posture statement is what General Ward made in March on the Hill. Last year in March was the first time that the Africa Command spoke before the Congress as a command, but we had not achieved unified command status yet. So this document you have here is his first statement of the posture statement, saying this is where we are now, this is what we’ve built so far, this is what we hope to achieve with our partners, and of course, we hope for more resources and more support from the U.S. Congress as well.

Let me end my opening comments there and take your questions. Yes, sir.

QUESTION: I have two questions. The first is one of the criticisms is that AFRICOM obviously has got no major forces in its command and this is, in fact, the militarization of American foreign policy and American aid. My question to you is why do you need the military for a job that’s being done by USAID or by the State Department?

AMBASSADOR YATES: All right. First, thank you for noting that we have no assigned forces. That’s true. When we want to do exercises and engagement, we have to request for forces, RFF the forces back to the Pentagon. And the procedure is working. That is an overall Pentagon decision.

I have been asked many times, “Isn’t this the militarization of foreign policy?” Having lived and worked this for the last two years, I would say it is the exact opposite. You know, the people who are learning about the greater foreign policy goals, the agencies who have been working on the continent for many, many decades, I think are the fellow military with whom I work.

The point that I think that is not quite accurate is the U.S. military, as seen here by the European Command – the U.S. military has had programs for decades on the continent. As I said, when I went through the European Command en route to Burundi, there were ongoing programs. And certainly when I was U.S. ambassador in Ghana, we had a robust mil-to-mil engagement program. We started the State Partnership Program.

So I think that what we want to do is find the African partners who are looking to build peace and stability in their nations and in their regions. I’d point to the African standby forces. I don’t know if you know about those that the AU is supporting. We are partnering with those African standby forces as they build, and their goal is 2010 to come online with battalions for each of the five geographic areas. Whether they meet that or not, they’re working hard, and this is a goal that we’ll stand beside and partner with them.

That’s the lane that the U.S. military should be in. But when we’re working there, because the military has some capabilities, whether it’s lift or other things, that other agencies don’t have, then through the country team, through the ambassador, by knowing what the mission strategic plan is, the U.S. military can be a supporter of that. And that’s what you see right here in the U.S. mission statement. And this was the work of about six months, this statement. We went from one level to the other. But in support of U.S. foreign policy, in concert with other U.S. Government agencies, that’s what we’re trying to link up.

QUESTION: Ambassador, my second question, you just mentioned –

AMBASSADOR YATES: I thought that was two questions at once. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: That was just one. (Laughter.) The second one was that you recently went to Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, and there are two problems there with the head of state and the military chief, but there’s also the problem of drug trafficking through Guinea Bissau to Europe. Can you tell us something about what the United States is doing about that?

AMBASSADOR YATES: Actually, I’m very, very pleased with what we’re building inside the command. And, well, there are many ways I can answer this. First of all, there are nations in West Africa who really want to work with all of the U.S. Government agencies who can help them fight this scourge of the drug trafficking. Because it has doubled over the past, at least, three to four years, to the point where about $2 billion are flowing through West Africa, 2 billion in cocaine trade up into Europe.

I see the difference. It’s dramatic. I mean, we know it’s a serious problem. Cape Verde is right out there, you know, in the ocean. We have had two Coast Guard law enforcement detachments that worked with the Cape Verdean Coast Guard. We worked with the Portuguese in training some of the police, some of the methodology. So this is all positive. And we’re also working on the level of helping them with their laws too – they want to stiffen and change their laws, and in some of the other nations in West Africa, specifically about illegal fishing.

So – but how do we do that? The command that has the most advanced counternarcotics, of course, is the Southern Command because of the drug flow into America. And this has gone on for some time. So we had staff talks with the Southern Command and the Africa Command. We looked at their mission– it’s called JIATF-South, the mission in Key West. Now, their boundary, of course, comes out into the ocean, meeting exactly where, you know, Cape Verde coming into what would be the boundary for the Africa Command. We are coordinating. We’re working with the MAOC, the maritime center in Lisbon, to figure out how we can share information that will be able to be shared with the African nations as they build their capacity to try and reverse this trend.

Also, I think that we’ve seen that program we have mentioned in here, the African Partnership Station – the maritime awareness in West Africa of the threats that are coming, from not just the land but certainly the sea, are growing tremendously. We had seminars and meetings in ’05 and ’06, and it was the African nations who said, “Couldn’t we have sort of a training platform?” So for the first year, there were two ships that went around to many of the ports in West Africa. Part of the training of those ships is maritime domain awareness. It’s being aware of what you’re seeing, the systems, the radar systems that we can show them, if they want to adopt them to have a greater awareness of the ships that are out there on the seas and coming close.

Anyway, there’s an infinite number of programs that we are working to develop. And the African Partnership Station has just been very, very successful, and it’s not just American. We had – this year, we had 25 different nations taking part, and 11 of them were African. And in command of the ship, the commander herself was a woman – I mean, an American, but we had a senior Ghanaian as an officer and a senior Nigerian. We had a Brazilian on the ship where the Mozambicans came over and joined the ship. So, I mean, this is a platform that I think is exciting. And the ship next year will be the Johann Devitt (ph) which is a Dutch ship.

Okay. Sorry, longwinded answer. How about my Ghanaian brother over there?

QUESTION: (Laughter.) Thank you. On the issue of strategic communication, I’m wondering what do you have in place for letting the American people know about some of these things that you’re doing in the region? Because a lot of times, the U.S. Government does some great things, but the American people are kept in the dark.

AMBASSADOR YATES: Well, that’s a very good question. I may take that back to my public affairs office, you know. I think of our major initiative after standing up the command. You know, we have this image of building an airplane when it’s flying, because that’s sort of what we did from October ’07 to October ’08. And then I think our first audience that we were communicating to was the Africans to make sure that they understood why we were doing this reorganization as we did.

And I believe we’ve made progress this year. It doesn’t mean that it’s over. We have to continue that communication. That’s one of the reasons I travel as much as I do to the continent. But I come back here, we need to be up on Capitol Hill. But to the American people writ large, I’ve been to a number of university campuses to speak because there was, you know, some real initial negative reaction to the command. I think it was because we probably didn’t sufficiently explain it when we began. But I’ll take that as a “to-do.”

QUESTION: Okay.

AMBASSADOR YATES: Anyone else?

QUESTION: When you talk about sustained security engagement in the mission statement, how does that apply for AFRICOM in Somalia, actually within Somalia to foster environments where children and teenagers are given options not to (inaudible)?

AMBASSADOR YATES: Somalia is a very, very important country, and the situation is exceptionally serious. And that is separate from the pirate issue, but, I mean, the pirate issue is one part of it.

I think the U.S. Government has been working diligently with the UN, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative Ould-Abdallah. They have been working first on the Djibouti process to support the Transition Federal Government, because I think everyone knows that until there is a solution to the instability on the land, the problems of the sea won’t be solved, but certainly, you know, the problems for the displacement of the persons and the tragedy of the things you’ve just mentioned.

There is a great deal of hope right now. And I think the conference just two weeks ago in Brussels where about 200 million was pledged – this is all in security affairs, you know, separate from education, food, security and all of that – I think that’s a very important and healthy sign.

We will continue the work that the Africa Command has done up until now in Somalia, working with the AMISON peacekeepers who have gone in, working with the Ugandans, with the Burundians, the training, the train and equip. The biggest part of that is State Department funding, but we would help with airlift and getting the logistics there.

What role we’ll play in assisting with a new flow of money, you know – and $10 million I know has been approved by our Congress to flow into working with the security forces, building up the security forces of Sheikh Sharif’s Transition Federal Government. And so we haven’t gotten exactly what our assignment will be, but we stand ready to do whatever we’re asked to do for the U.S. Government, and I know the policy is under an overall review as well.

Yes.

QUESTION: How involved do you think AFRICOM will be to handle the piracy issue off the coast of East Africa?

AMBASSADOR YATES: Well, it’s a good question because the piracy issue is being handled with the international coalition because we are all of a mind, working under several UN Security Council resolutions. So there is an international coalition, including the Russians – I see a Russian colleague here – a number of nations, the Chinese, the Indians have joined in this coalition.

The U.S. military presence there is headed by the Central Command. They have the assets, they have the task force, the naval task force there. But the Africa Command plays a supporting role to the Central Command in this initiative. And of course, we are in constant contact when there are prisoners picked up and working with the African nations.

QUESTION: Can I have a follow-up?

AMBASSADOR YATES: Of course.

QUESTION: I know it’s only been just a little over a hundred days for President Obama. Any plans to meet with him to discuss the AFRICOM?

AMBASSADOR YATES: The Africa Command? That’s an excellent question. I think maybe I’ll take that one back for my boss. Actually, I know that when he was back at the time of the Posture Statement, there was a chance for all of the combatant commanders, the four-star combatant commanders, to meet with the new President of the United States. So I don’t have all the details of that conversation.

QUESTION: All right.

QUESTION: Well, what changes have you seen, if any, since the change in the White House, in terms of AFRICOM?

AMBASSADOR YATES: Well, we’re pretty busy doing our own building. What we do is –

QUESTION: That’s because you have new, different directors, so --

AMBASSADOR YATES: We know that both the Somali policy and the Sudan policy are under review by the National Security Council. So as we always say, we wait for the policymakers to make policy decisions and choices and then we will be directed and we’ll see if that changes any of the engagement in programs and activities we have planned.

QUESTION: In the past, a couple of years ago, I remember reading something from the United States military – this was a couple of years ago – in which they divided Africa into a couple of important countries – Nigeria and South Africa and Kenya. Would you say that AFRICOM has priorities like this in Africa, or do you look at it regionally, or do you have, like, you know, regional powers that you’d like to concentrate on?

AMBASSADOR YATES: That’s a very interesting question. And I certainly remember the time when we talked about pull nations, or something like that, strategic pull nations. I think one thing I can say, having been involved with Africa for over 20 years, is our policy, our major policy tenets have not changed under a Democratic or a Republican administration. We’re working to support democracy. We’re working to support economic growth and prosperity, to alleviate the suffering, you know, the humanitarian assistance. Those tenets are the same and, you know, they’re nuanced a bit. So, I don’t expect major changes.

What we do is work, because there are limited resources. So the nations of Africa who want to partner and who are the leaders in trying to bring peace and stability not only to their nation, but to the region, are the ones that naturally bubble up to be the first partners, if we have to prioritize our funding and our programs. But one thing that I can say the Africa Command has done, and that we’re now doing much more on an integrated basis – you know, State, AID and Defense, is sit down and talk and prioritize.

And let me give you one example. I gave this the other day and I’m so impressed. In Morocco, when the embassy sat down and analyzed and prioritized some of their problems, one of the biggest problems are the disenfranchised youth because of the growth of the population in so many African countries. You know, we have many, many African countries where 30, 40, 50 percent of the population is under 15 years of age.

But in Morocco, this is an exceptional problem because the unemployed and, unfortunately, uneducated youth are vulnerable to extremists. So the embassy decided that they would prioritize that as a goal, but then they said, “What can each of the agencies who have programs and resources bring together to try and solve this?”

And actually, State and AID signed an MOU within the embassy together, and they decided that maybe what they should do is build more vocational schools so the young people would have vocational schools. They would target certain areas, and the DOD could bring forth money, the bricks and mortar, to refurbish some of these vocational centers, but then it would be USAID who would bring the programs and the funding for teachers and the actual training. So to me, that is bringing the whole of government approach together to help solve a problem that from the ambassador on down, they targeted as one of their primary goals.

Another question?

QUESTION: Initially, there was a great skepticism in Africa with the Command, I think. How do you think attitudes have been changing?

AMBASSADOR YATES: Actually, yes. And there was great skepticism and I think the general said it. We probably and we – if some of us weren’t part of it at that time, we did – didn’t get rolled out very well. And you know when you work in Africa, consultation is an important thing. You better go and listen and have about ten cups of tea. And that probably did not occur. Once General Ward was nominated and approved by the Senate and took control in October of ‘07, I think that we were on a very clear path. And he said, we’re going to speak with one voice.

I give you the example that about a year ago, I was in Kenya at the National Defense College, and then last Tuesday I was back giving another talk at the National Defense College in Kenya. A year ago they were asking me, why is there an Africa Command, what did – why did you reorganize like this? This time they were saying, what’s AFRICOM going to do about this, why – are they going to take the lead with the pirates; are you going to give us a program about this? So the whole dialogue has shifted. And I think that’s very important. But it doesn’t mean that there still aren’t doubting Thomases. You know, we still have to continue to prove that what we chose to do in our reorganization is going to be value added for our African partners.

QUESTION: I see that your role includes partnership building. What’s the nature of partnership building generally? And do you have any current partnership needs?

AMBASSADOR YATES: Oh, mercy, yes. There are going to be lots of needs.

We build partnerships on many, many levels. I’ve talked about the African Partnership Station, and the fact that some of these countries have now received three ships in two years running. They look forward to whatever the training is comes from having the military get off the ship, having the African military get on the ship, go out and do training. So it’s building a partnership to build a capacity as the African nations choose. And the militaries are at different levels as well. And as you know, there are some regional leaders that have the interoperability opportunities of working in this kind of arena.

The other, I think, interesting change is we have a National Guard all over – in states all over America. And the State Partnership Program that is mentioned in here really began with the fall of the Berlin Wall, when many of the nations in Eastern Europe became state partners with American National Guards. And they would go and do some exercises, and then it became mil-mil, then military to civilian, because the National Guard are citizen soldiers. And so it must have been just about when I was going to Ghana in 2002, they’d started the National Guard State Partnership Program with some of the African countries. We’re now up to nine of those partnerships.

And when I was in Ghana, I brought the State Partnership Program there with the North Dakota National Guard. And what it means is – I think – in last year it was 18 or 20 activities that the National Guard came for; they find out what the Ghanaian military would want to do, whether it was helicopter maintenance or, you know, the skill sets that they have with the National Guard in North Dakota. That is just a wonderful partnership.

And then it takes it to the next level, because they’re all civilians, so they’ve got civilian jobs and they have opportunities. And so I’m pleased that we have nine partnerships, but we have to get more. We have to get them out of Eastern Europe and into Africa.

QUESTION: And the partnership needs?

AMBASSADOR YATES: The partnership needs? Well, they articulate to us in a series of planning meetings. You know, I give an example of the African Endeavor, which is an exercise we’ve done throughout Africa on communications training. So if you are going to have to be interoperable going into Liberia on a peacekeeping mission, let’s bring all of our communications equipment together and figure out what it is we need to do. And this is an iterative process. I mean, we’ve been at this about four years. But that came out of the partners saying to us, we can’t even communicate when we go into a regional peacekeeping effort.

It makes me think about Somalia. I don’t know what they’re doing there as far as C2, so (inaudible) ask that question.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: How could they individualize a country which is Angola? You know, the relations with Angola and the United States have got a baggage of 30 years of (inaudible). Can you tell us a bit about your – I remember that General Jones, now the national security advisor, he went there once or twice. Can you tell us a bit about the relationships with Angola, how the United States sees Angola and their role in West Africa?

AMBASSADOR YATES: Well, I have a great deal of hope for the U.S. relationship with Angola, and specifically the Africa Command. I was there – it might have been in the last six months I was there and had wonderful meetings with military and foreign ministry, with other diplomats there.

You pointed out some of the history that our country has. I think that we’re ready to turn a chapter. Angola is a leader. It’s a leader both in Central Africa and in Southern Africa. In the military relationship, the capability that the Angolan military has is significant, not just in lift, but in the professionalism of their military. So we stand ready to partner with them as they choose to partner with us. And the fact that Angola has also chosen to be part of two of the regional organizations, both CEAC and SADC, I think makes them pivotal as well, and another important partner.

I went and listened with great detail about the Angolans’ perception of events going on in Eastern Congo, and they know so much, they’ve had so much experience working with the military there, training. So to me, Angola is an important partner and a partner that I think we can grow the military relationship in the future as Angola makes that decision.

QUESTION: How do you measure success of your operation generally?

AMBASSADOR YATES: How do we measure the success? Oh, boy, that’s a good question. The assessment – actually, we’ve had lengthy discussions about what tools we need to have to have a good assessment. In this whole-of-government approach, our USAID colleagues are much further ahead than, certainly, State Department colleagues in having to assess programs – you know, they build a program, it exists for three years or five years, they have to assess it to try and go back to Congress and ask for more. One of the five USAID officials who have come to the command is in our inspector general’s corps, and so she is informing us, in the umbrella sense, of how important assessment is.

So I’m not sure I can give you exact details right now, but it’s something we’re very focused on. Like I said, we built the airplane while flying it, and now we’re about halfway through the first year of programs, programs, programs. But, we need to assess, because we’ve got to be able to go back to the Congress and say, this is value added.

MODERATOR: Is there a last question?

QUESTION: I had one question (inaudible). I just wanted to find out where Ghana fits in here with what you’ve done so far and what you are anticipating in going to – essentially in respect of the National Guard Program. What (inaudible) is Ghana?

AMBASSADOR YATES: Okay. Well, Ghana is an important partner on many levels, and I speak from my heart, having spent three wonderful years there. The State Partnership Program you mentioned began about three or four years ago, and Ghana is just one of the nine countries that has a State Partnership Program. But I think of Ghana’s leadership role in ECOWAS, the importance of ECOWAS moving ahead with the African Standby Force. ECOWAS will probably have – that’s the regional organization, of course – will probably have the first battalion that is ready for action. And of course, they have already been active.

I was just in Nigeria about two weeks ago, and spoke at the ECOWAS conference on the security sector reform. And they’re looking at security sector reform issues throughout West Africa, including Guinea Bissau, and Ghana plays a key role, a leadership role within ECOWAS as you know. So it is certain that the military assesses Ghana as one of its strongest partners in Africa because of the importance it plays in its regional role, besides its democracy.

QUESTION: How about one last question?

AMBASSADOR YATES: One last, one last, one last.

QUESTION: What about Mozambique? You mentioned that you went to Mozambique recently. Can you tell us --

AMBASSADOR YATES: That was a year ago.

QUESTION: Can you tell us first what you think of the developments in the country, and what’s the relationship now at the moment with the United States and AFRICOM in Mozambique?

AMBASSADOR YATES: Well, we have had very good relations with Mozambique. I went there, again, to listen and learn for the command. And I went specifically to inaugurate a huge military hospital that is going to serve a big civilian population as well, because if you read the terms of reference from my job, certainly the humanitarian and health activities fall underneath that. I was there on – in fact, it was December 1, because I was there on International AIDS Day. And, of course, AIDS is a huge problem, and it’s a problem that the military and the civilians are addressing in a very serious way.

What I also find is that Mozambique is playing a stronger leadership role in SADC, and that’s very important. And I also know that they are aware of a growing narcotics problem in their nation, and they are very interested in developing a stronger maritime relationship with us and with other nations in the area because of the enormity of their coastline and the modest resources they have to protect this. I mean, it is quite clear that there is heroin coming from Pakistan through Mozambique to South Africa and to other points. So they need to find ways to strengthen their maritime awareness and build their resources there. So I went in a listening mode.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Ambassador.

AMBASSADOR YATES: Thank you all very much. I enjoyed it.

QUESTION: Thank you.