The small, troubled West African nation of Guinea-Bissau has faced many challenges in recent years. Frequent military coups have stymied democratic rule and in the vacuum of effective government, international criminals have targeted remote areas of its seacoast for transshipment of illegal drugs from South America to markets in Europe.
It is a hopeful sign, then, that international donors encouraged by recent political stability there pledged more than one billion euros to support a 10-year development program. Donors attending a conference held in Brussels last month hosted by the European Union endorsed an ambitious plan prepared by the government to promote growth, development and improved government services, and in so doing strengthen democratic institutions there.
As a friend and partner of the Bissau-Guinean people, the United States congratulates the vision of the plan presented by Prime Minister Domingos Pereira and President José Mário Vaz. They have clearly articulated both the aspiration and the specific proposals required for a strong, vibrant and prosperous Guinea-Bissau within the larger community of West African nations. We thank the European Union, the United Nations Development Program and the Government of Guinea-Bissau for organizing this Conference.
The United States stands as a partner with the international community to build a strong, enduring relationship with Guinea-Bissau that will help in meeting the goals outlined at the Conference: establish a strong and diversified economy that provides opportunities for young people; reform and strengthen democratic institutions; fight corruption and promote good governance; and reduce poverty.
For our part, we are committed to continuing our bilateral cooperation in the security sector, military sector, and on judicial reform, in addition to our technical assistance in the health sector.
Bissau-Guineans should be proud of the progress that has taken place in the ten months since elections and they can count on the continued support of the United States.