SUAI, Timor-Leste -- To His Excellency Minister of Foreign Affairs Aurelio Guterres, Minister of Health Rui Maria de Araujo, Chief of Defense Force Major General Lere Anan Timur, Brigadier General Woodrow, our partners in local & national government, community members, and of course, the U.S. Pacific Air Forces (PACAF). Bom dia.
Thanks to all of you for joining us today to celebrate the conclusion of the 2018 Pacific Angel exercise in Suai, Timor-Leste.
PACANGEL is a wonderful example of how the United States is working together with Timor-Leste to build capacity and partnership in the Indo-Pacific region. The United States of America has supported Timor-Leste since its independence and we are very proud to continue our strong relations with this new democracy.
We witnessed the peaceful, free and transparent early elections with admiration and respect. We salute the outgoing government for its dedication and commitment to democracy. We look forward to working with the new government to further strengthen ties between the United States of America and Timor-Leste.
We support Timor-Leste’s own goals, such as building democratic institutions, and strengthening the capability of the Timorese people to chart their own peaceful, healthy and well-educated future. We support efforts to diversify their economy and foster equality and opportunity for all.
We will build on our cooperation through PACANGEL and other military-to-military exercises. We will continue to strengthen the work of USAID, Peace Corps, and US Navy Seabees. We value our active youth engagement programs, including scholarships to study in the U.S., our English language programs and support for science, technology and mathematics education.
Today in Suai, we are reminded of our great pride in our work with the F-FDTL. Here in Suai, we worked together with the F-FDTL, government officials and local community leaders. We achieved the goals of this year’s exercise and we established strong ties for future collaboration.
This exercise focused on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. But we also took the opportunity to complete projects that will benefit the Suai community for years to come. The combined engineering teams successfully repaired and improved two schools – Escola Secundaria Um Seran Kotek and Escola Primaria Mata Air – as well as four health facilities – Suai Hospital, Salele Regional Health Center, Pollo Medical Training Center, and Has Ain Medical Clinic. These facilities will improve the quality of education and health for more than 65,000 Timorese living in Suai and the surrounding areas. Additionally, our health service outreach provided general medicine, pediatrics, physical therapy, optometry, and dental care services to more than 6,000 Timorese.
I would like to commend the United States Air Force; the Government of Timor-Leste; the F-FDTL, local officials, medical professionals, and the other various partners who collaborated in this remarkable effort. Without your hard work and dedication, this mission would not have been successful.
Thank you for allowing me to share this wonderful achievement with you today. Congratulations to all of our partners and friends.