Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Central Asian (C5) Foreign Ministers

Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
Remarks by Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State
September 22, 2019

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, good morning, everyone. Welcome to our big week here in New York. Thank you all for joining me. It’s always a busy time, but I am thrilled that we had this opportunity. This is an important meeting. Thank you all for joining me and for being here with me.

I also want to thank the foreign ministers for hosting David Hale. He had a great visit, and we appreciated your candor regarding our mutual security concerns. I hope today we can continue that very open and frank discussion about the new ways that our nations can cooperate.

You all know this: We must absolutely work together on counterterrorism, especially on the difficult but critical task of returning, prosecuting, and reintegrating foreign terrorist fighters and their families. The United States can help you figure out how best do that and assist you in your process.

And further on the subject of terrorism, I want to make clear that China’s repressive campaign in Xinjiang is not about terrorism. It’s about China’s attempt – about China’s attempt to erase its own citizens’ Muslim faith and culture. We call on all countries to resist China’s demands to repatriate Uighurs.

The Trump administration also takes your border security concerns very seriously. We don’t want terrorists or drug traffickers to be able to cross your borders with impunity. Greater cooperation on this issue with Central Asia and with Afghanistan will help guarantee the security of your nations and your people.

And finally, this morning, we also want to help you grow your economies in a mutually beneficial and sustainable way. We have seen and continue to see great opportunities for the region to cooperate on energy matters. I look forward to discussing the process of – prospect of American investment in your infrastructure projects.

We, of course, respect your right to do business with whomever you wish. But when you do, consider how America does business – openly and fairly and on mutually beneficial terms. The United States too can offer independent experts to review and assess foreign infrastructure investments in your countries if you’re interested in that assistance as well. I hope we can make prospects – or, excuse me, progress on all of these topics today. Thank you.

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