Anthony Tata, performing the duties of (PDO) under secretary of defense for policy, met with the President, Vice President, and Ministers of Defense, Foreign Affairs, National Security and Health of Equatorial Guinea during a stop in Malabo January 9-10.
PDO USD(P) Tata noted that Equatorial Guinea’s progress in combatting trafficking in persons and movement from the Tier 3 to Tier 2 Watchlist of the “2020 State Department Trafficking in Persons Report” had provided the opportunity for a high-level engagement with the Department of Defense, as Equatorial Guinea requested last year.
He noted his purpose was to set expectations regarding the rules and norms that would need to guide a defense relationship going forward, including continued progress on trafficking in persons, successful human rights vetting of security forces with which the United States would engage, and avoiding certain harmful security engagements.
PDO USD(P) Tata also shared his views on the People’s Republic of China and Russian activities on the continent.
While the United States does not oppose activities that adhere to transparent international standards, concerns are raised when security engagements fall short of international standards, compromise sovereignty or impact our shared security interests.
The leaders exchanged views on Equatorial Guinea’s security priorities and vision for potentially expanding the bilateral relationship, specifically discussing maritime security issues in the Gulf of Guinea region and recognizing piracy as a shared area of concern for potential future cooperation.
Tata thanked Equatorial Guinea’s leaders for their participation in the “2020 Friends of the Gulf of Guinea” plenary session last month, which the United States had the privilege of co-chairing with Gabon.
PDO USD(P) Tata also presided over a distribution ceremony with the Ministry of Health for DoD-funded donations of personal protective equipment, voltage regulators and freezers to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Department of Defense will continue to execute its mission, including by strengthening alliances and developing new partnerships, as we uphold our oath of office and the Constitution.