LUANDA, Angola - During a joint press conference with Angolan Foreign Minister Manuel Augusto Monday afternoon, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the Trump administration’s recent travel ban on four African countries and said it does not conflict with efforts to bolster American business on the continent.
“There is nothing that conflicts between America’s need to be sure that the people who are coming in and out of the United States, know who they are, know where they are traveling, every nation has a sovereign obligation to make sure they do that. Angola protects its border, every country does that,” Pompeo said. ‘That in no way conflicts with America’s deep desire to increase our contact, partnerships here in Angola and all throughout Africa. In fact you can see it. The data set is very clear. You can see increased investment. You can see it in ways that are important to liberate people in this region.”
In January, a travel ban was extended to people living in Nigeria, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar.
“As set forth in Presidential Proclamation 9645, countries that fail to conduct proper identity management protocols and procedures, or that fail to provide information necessary to comply with basic national security requirements, including sharing terrorist, criminal, or other identity information, face the risk of restrictions and limitations on the entry of their nationals into the United States,” the White House released at the time.
Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Venezuela, Yemen and Somalia remain on the list.
“President’s [President Trump] efforts to make sure we get our travel situation right, we set out clear rules and say, ‘here’s the things you need to comply with in order to travel to the United States of America.’ Simple things like passport control,” he continued, adding that the U.S. provides technological help to reach these goals.
In addition to the ban, Pompeo also took on China’s approach to “investment” in Africa by presenting a hopeful contrast with the United States.
“You can see our investments are transparent and clean. We don’t post debt burdens that nations can’t resolve,” he continued. “I can tell you how America operates. When we come, we hire Angolans. When we come to Angola we show up with money that will benefit the Angolan people. Our companies will do well too, these are private sector companies. We do high quality work, it’s transparent. It benefits the people of that country. Not every nation that comes here to invest does that. There’s no political agenda. We’re trying to do good things for our companies and good things for the people of Angola. That’s the model we use.”
Pompeo is in Africa to promote American businesses and to bolster counterterrorism relationships with a number of countries.