Distinguished guests. Thank you for the warm welcome.
This weekend, we celebrate 244 years of independence for the United States of America. Since 1776, the United States has always been a champion of liberty. Today, I am honored to represent the American people in this ceremony that recognizes the efforts of the Chadian army in its fight against those that threaten liberty.
In April, Chadian armed forces courageously conducted a military operation against Boko haram and other terrorist affiliates that threaten the liberty of the inhabitants of the Lake Chad Region. The United States of America honors the sacrifices of all those who lost their lives in this fight for liberty.
I am happy to be with you to celebrate the engagement of the American people in this fight. The United States are proud to accompany Chad and the G5 Sahel partners, an African initiative that expresses the courageous will of its member countries to work together to eliminate the variety of terrorist threats in the region. Today, the United States delivers equipment worth more than 49 billion CFA to the Chadian G5 Sahel forces. This donation sends a clear message that we stand together.
The United States is proud of our long-term, unwavering relationship with Chad, the Sahel, and Africa. Our goal is to promote peace and security through continuous bilateral, regional, and multilateral engagement. Over the past two years, the US Department of State has furnished more than 323 million dollars in security assistance to G5 Sahel countries on a bilateral basis.
We have committed almost two million dollars in statutory contributions to the United Nations Peace Keeping Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) since its creation in 2013. We recognize the role that MINUSMA plays in regional stabilization and for this reason we continue to work to make it more efficient. We recognize the leadership role of Chad in MINUSMA, contributing to peace and security in the region.
The American contribution to development and humanitarian aid are equally important. Since 2018, the U.S. Department of State and USAID have committed more than 613 million dollars to G5 Sahel countries, of which 265 million dollars is for development and sanitation assistance and more than 350 million dollars for humanitarian aid.
The American approach is bilateral and respects the sovereignty of the nation-state. Today, the materiel that we deliver to the Chadian people comes from the American people.
Our contribution includes two maintenance trucks complete with tools to create a mobile maintenance capacity, ten large trucks, eight water trucks, twenty-eight armored combat vehicles, three backhoes, communications material and spare parts for the ninety-nine vehicles already donated. Together, this materiel comprises more than one hundred seventy vehicles.
We are confident that with our contribution, the Chadian contingent of the G5 Sahel will be ready and equipped for its mission to fight against the flow of terrorists and illicit traffic of persons, drugs and arms.
Sovereign states have the right to choose freely, to stand together and face their common challenges. The G5 Sahel member states made a choice and they earned the support of the international community in this effort to find an African solution to an African problem, indeed a global problem.
Today we honor the courage and devotion of the Chadian forces, recognized as professionals in this region and internationally. Chad demonstrates every day its commitment to combatting insecurity and hate, even though the fight may be far from their country’s borders.
As we witnessed during Operation Wrath of Bohoma, Chadian soldiers fought valiantly, and some paid the ultimate price for peace in the Sahel region.
We understand that in Chad, in Africa, and across our global community, the fight against terrorism cannot succeed by the force of arms alone.
It is necessary to win the confidence and support of the civilian populace, which requires that all people be treated with respect. To gain the confidence of all citizens, security must be accompanied by good governance and adequate public services.
It is well established that military personnel engaged in the fight against terrorism have a key role to play and must unfailingly respect the rights and dignity of each person.
All American training programs – around the world and within our own forces – focus on the human rights of every person. This is a fundamental value of the Unites States. The dignity of each person is at the core of the freedom we all seek and the freedom that we serve our nation to defend.
The United States intends to continue our strategic partnership with Chad. For that reason, we are counting on Chadian forces to ensure the materiel given today be used wisely. It is our hope and wish that this materiel be wisely employed, last a long time and that future operations across Chad and the Sahel will be crowned with deserved success.
It is our intention that this material be used to defend freedom for every person.