December 4, 2018
Good evening ladies and gentlemen, excellencies, distinguished colleagues from the diplomatic and military attaché corps, and, most of all, the many representatives of the private sector here in Cairo to participate in the first Egyptian Defense Exposition.
Before I continue, I would like to ask you all to join me in remembering the 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush, who we lost last week. President Bush was a patriotic man committed to the service of his country. We have much to remember and thank him for his many roles as a naval pilot, businessman, Member of Congress, Ambassador to the United Nations and to China, Director of Central Intelligence, and as President. He led us through very challenging times of fundamental change in the world. We cannot forget President Bush’s commitment to the U.S.-Egypt partnership and alliance, particularly as American and Egyptian military forces stood together, shoulder to shoulder, including some people in this room, on the field of battle in the historic campaign to liberate Kuwait. If President Bush was with us today, I am sure that he would be proud of the way we have built on those foundations and of the strides we continue to make in our economic and security cooperation. May he rest in peace.
We have been looking forward to EDEX 2018 for many months. The government of Egypt and the Egyptian defense sector deserve congratulations on the successful launch of this international exposition. Creating a new international conference from the ground up is not an easy task, and you have succeeded in a big way. With more than 350 exhibitors at this first show, the market is clearly confirming that there is strong interest in Egypt and in working with Egypt to advance shared security challenges.
It is particularly exciting to have such a strong and enthusiastic contingent of American companies with us this evening and who are exhibiting in the Expo. There is no doubt in our minds that American companies are the most advanced and capable in the world, producing the highest quality products and services at the right price. This is above all true in the defense sector. American companies come in all shapes and sizes, from the large defense contractors to small companies that have specialized in the refinement and marketing of just one or a few technologically advanced products that add un thought of capabilities to any military force.
The presence of over 40 U.S. companies is a testimony to the importance of this event. I am proud that U.S. companies represent the largest presence at EDEX and that many of these companies sent representation from their U.S. headquarters. For our part, the U.S. government is committed to supporting Egypt’s very real security needs. The ties between our two countries’ defense sectors is a pillar of the bilateral strategic partnership.
My sincerest thanks to Brigadier General Hossam al-Shihawy and his many colleagues from the Ministry of Defense for their leadership in strengthening that partnership. Our work together in tackling the ongoing security challenges is of the utmost importance, and our relationship has continued to strengthen and flourish.
We are also honored to have with us a senior U.S. government delegation: Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation Ann Cataldo, Commerce Director of the Advocacy Center Stephen Renna, and Defense Security Cooperation Agency Principal Director Michele Hizon. I also want to acknowledge the Senior U.S. Defense Official, Major General Ralph Groover, who leads our military-to-military efforts in Cairo.
The message that I have for the visiting executives of U.S. companies is that the Embassy is here to support you, both today and in the future as you pursue new and creative opportunities. Whatever we can do to advocate for your success, we will endeavor to do. In addition to General Groover and senior officers of the Office of Military Cooperation, our Commercial Counselor, Rick Ortiz, and his team are with us tonight looking forward to discussing direct commercial sales in more detail.
The U.S. government is committed to helping ensure that Egypt has the tools it needs to defend its borders, counter terrorism, and defend itself from opportunistic aggressors. With $1.3 billion in annual U.S. Foreign Military Financing, Egypt has purchased a variety of sophisticated U.S. defense articles to better equip Egypt’s forces, such as F-16 fighter jets. This and the training and interaction that comes with it continues to strengthen the decades-long bond between our two militaries.
Thank you again to the exhibitors, your participation in events like EDEX 2018, and direct engagement with Egypt, will reinforce our efforts at the government to level to bolster security and stability in Egypt and the region overall.
Thank you all for your support and participation in EDEX. On behalf of the Embassy team, we wish you all success in your endeavors.