At the Virtual Launch of the Inaugural U.S.-UAE Strategic Dialogue

20 Oct

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Washington, D.C.

MR LENDERKING: Good evening to those in Abu Dhabi, and good morning to those in Washington, D.C. Welcome to the virtual launch of the U.S.-UAE Strategic Dialogue and the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.

We are pleased to be joined by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates; His Excellency Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade of the United Arab Emirates; His Excellency Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bawardi, Minister of State for Defense Affairs of the United Arab Emirates; His Excellency Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates; His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States of America; the Honorable Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State, the United States of America; the Honorable Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce of the United States of America; the Honorable John Rakolta Jr., Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Arab Emirates.

Our program will begin with brief remarks from Secretary Pompeo, Minister bin Zayed, Secretary Ross, and Minister of State Al Zeyoudi. This will be followed by the signing of the U.S.-UAE Strategic Dialogue Memorandum of Understanding.

And now, please allow me to invite Secretary Pompeo to deliver his remarks.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Tim. Good morning, everyone. Good evening. Welcome to this launch of the first inaugural U.S.-UAE Strategic Dialogue. It’s a historic day, an important day, and it’s a great pleasure to be joined by my friends, Your Highness, my friend, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Your Excellencies, Ministers Zeyoudi, Bawardi, Gargash, and Ambassador Otaiba. Wilbur, John, Secretary Ross, Ambassador Rakolta, it’s great to be with you, too. Thanks for joining us. I regret so much that we can’t be here in person doing this alongside of each other. One day, before too long, we’ll do that.

During the Trump administration, the United States and the United Arab Emirates relationship has grown deeper and broader than at any point before. I think having this dialogue is evidence of that.

Sheikh Abdullah, we last saw each other at the White House for the signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords with Israel.

It was a brave step that will create more opportunities for peace, prosperity, and stability in the Middle East and all around the world.

In your meeting with President Trump that day, you described the UAE as a nation “full of hope” that “wants to attract more hope to the region.” So beautiful.

Today’s MOU will build on those hopes in eight key areas of partnership: politics, defense, law enforcement and border security, intelligence and counterterrorism, human rights, economics, cultural – culture and academics, and space.

I am confident that the United States and the UAE’s strategic partnership across every one of these dimensions will grow in the years to come.

The Trump administration prioritizes this relationship so highly because our two peoples have demonstrated how much we can accomplish together – not just talk, but action.

We’ve worked alongside one another towards peace in many countries in the Middle East.

The UAE too is a top investor here in America. And you’re our number-one export destination in the Middle East as well.

We both value the protection of religious freedoms and cooperate on human rights objectives, like ending human trafficking and empowering women to reach their God-given potential. I hope to see more of that in the future from the entire region.

We of course remain engaged on a number of regional issues, including healing the rifts among Arab Gulf partners and advancing the cause of peace in Libya and in Yemen.

And we stand together on the international stage to counter the greatest destructive force in the Middle East – the Iranian regime.

I want to personally thank the UAE for its support of our maximum pressure campaign, which has denied Tehran access to weapons valued at more than $70 billion.

We’re grateful, too, for your help to hold the regime accountable at the United Nations.

By working with us, the UAE has shown that you want the UN to do its job to hold – uphold peace and security in your region.

Look, in short, the UAE is an increasingly important global partner with the United States.

The world will see that again next year with Expo 2020 in Dubai, which had to be delayed just a bit.

For all those reasons – for all those reasons and more, this is one of America’s most valued relationships, and all of us here in the Trump administration look forward to discussing all this in person in Abu Dhabi soon as a follow-on to this launch today. We’ll continue to work on today’s challenges, including those presented by Iran, and new challenges like those presented by the Chinese Communist Party’s malign influence, which threatens the region’s people and freedom around the world. Let’s keep up our good work through the expo, through 2021, as the UAE celebrates 50 years of independence.

With that, I am happy and honored to turn it over to Sheikh Abdullah. Thank you for being with me today.

MR LENDERKING: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I now have the pleasure to invite His Highness Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed to deliver his remarks.

FOREIGN MINISTER ABDULLAH BIN ZAYED: Dear friend and Secretary Pompeo, I’m honored to be here witnessing another historical day that joins us together, the UAE and the United States. As you mentioned, we’re not in person but virtually. It is a challenge, no doubt, with COVID, but it’s – it just shows how determined both of us, at both the UAE Government and the American administration, are working together and have been working together for so many years. You mentioned that the UAE will be celebrating its 50th anniversary, but we’ll also be celebrating our 50th anniversary of relationship between these two nations.

Not too long, I was honored to be at the White House lawn celebrating the Abrahamic Accord. Today, we see another important milestone in the relationship between the UAE and Israel. And frankly, if it wasn’t for the assistance of the Trump administration, your personal effort, dear Secretary, and your team, who’ve been so committed in working towards broader relationship with the UAE but also a broader relationship with the region to bring in the region hope, peace, and prosperity.

Nineteen years ago, dear Secretary, we decided the UAE to join the efforts of the United States in going after terror which occurred on 9/11. That’s not enough. The voices of extremism, radicalism is still gaining momentum. We saw that recently in Paris. And we have to double down our efforts together in overcoming these extreme radical voices. There’s no doubt in my mind that your administration and many countries around the world are willing and capable. We have to make sure that our effort succeeds.

Dear Secretary, almost a decade ago the UAE signed with the United States the 123 Agreement, which was considered then a gold standard. That gold standard is a blessing today. We look at the nuclear concern of all of us in Iran, and we believe that that nuclear gold standard should be applied on Iran as well. I hope that such a gold standard will remind us that this could be another moment of a gold standard, of a relationship between the UAE and the United States.

I’m sure that the efforts of Ambassador Rakolta, Dr. Gargash, and Yousef Al Otaiba and many more in the United States and the UAE who have been very much working in a joint, friendly spirit for a stronger UAE relationship with the United States. We would like to see more jobs created in the United States. We are proud that we provide over 120,000 jobs with our investments in the United States. The UAE is the largest export destination in the Middle East for the United States, and I’m sure with less barriers between us and more efforts and more good work, we can achieve much more.

So thank you, Secretary, and please convey my gratitude to your administration and your team in D.C.

MR LENDERKING: Thank you, Your Highness. Please allow me to invite Secretary Ross to deliver his remarks.

SECRETARY ROSS: Thank you, Timothy, for that introduction. Thank you also to my neighbor, Ambassador Rokolta, for organizing this event. And my thanks to Secretary Pompeo for your incredible leadership on last month’s peace agreement in the Mideast. The Abraham Accords have transformed Middle East dynamics and provided so many people with hope. Thank you for hosting today’s discussion.

A warm welcome also to His Excellencies Abdullah bin Zayed and Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Zeyoudi who join us this morning. I am pleased that today we can discuss expanding the commercial ties between our two nations. This dialogue is critical as we rise from the global COVID-19 challenges facing both of our nations. We are two of the most innovative and advanced economies in the world. And the UAE is our third-largest trading partner in the MENA region with more than $24 billion in two-way trade in 2019. U.S. foreign direct investment in UAE was 27.6 billion last year, up 2.7 billion since 2016. And Emeriti FDI into the United States increased from 13.7 billion in 2016 to 17.1 billion last year.

While the current COVID crisis is still affecting the global trade system, I am encouraged by your nations efforts to diversify your economy. The government’s recent reorganization enables you to become more agile and to prepare for expansion into advanced manufacturing, renewable energy, and commercial space, plus providing innovative solutions to food security.

The UAE’s work in improving its intellectual property rights environment is also reassuring. Unfortunately, your country is in its third year of appearing on the USTR’s Special 301 Report Watchlist for not providing adequate and effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. However, your recent passage of the new pharmaceutical IEP regulation is a leap in the right direction and could make UAE the best and safest place in the Mideast to bring innovative pharmaceutical and biotech investment in technology.

My department is eager to have the U.S. Patent and Trade Office provide you with any technical assistance you might need to further refine your IPR practices. And my department’s International Trade Administration is looking forward to our upcoming data privacy technical workshops with the UAE in December.

U.S. companies have expressed concern about data localization efforts in the UAE. It cannot be overstated that adopting a data privacy framework based upon existing global models and best practices is critical to economic recovery and advancement. During the workshops, there will be discussions on data-flow regulations and a potential regional data framework. And in March next year, ITA’s global market’s team will host a two-day infrastructure roadshow in Abu Dhabi.

The first day’s infrastructure conference will enable UAE and regional government officials to present to an audience of U.S. companies and officials their upcoming major projects, such as smart cities, energy, and infrastructure, and highlight how U.S. companies can get more involved. The second day’s infrastructure summit will bring UAE and U.S. Government officials together to discuss how they can strategically support increased participation of UAE’s companies and UAE infrastructure projects.

These engagements will also offer great opportunities to engage on multiple advocacy cases across the Gulf. Within ITA, the Advocacy Center is currently assisting U.S. companies with 42 procurement cases in the UAE. The cumulative total project value of these approximates $10 billion, with 8.1 billion of U.S. content. The principal industries covered are aerospace and defense, safety and security, and energy.

Since 2016, the Advocacy Group has recorded seven project wins in the UAE with a total value of $2.3 billion. I encourage all of you here today to participate in both of these infrastructure events next spring. I also hope to welcome a delegation from UAE once more to the 2021 SelectUSA Investment Summit taking place June 6 to the 9th, 2021, here in Washington. This event provides a unique opportunity for Emirati business executives to meet with economic development organizations from across the United States.

Finally, I commend the UAE for hosting and organizing the upcoming World Expo in Dubai. Our U.S. Commercial Service will engage the U.S. business community in the Expo’s U.S. pavilion and will join you to celebrate the Expo’s conclusion in March 2022 by bringing our flagship Trade Winds Team Mission with over 100 U.S. companies to the UAE to explore export and trade opportunities. Meanwhile, the U.S. mission there is ready and willing to assist you in any way we can.

Before I close, I’m pleased to announce that the Department of Commerce is working to conclude two MOUs of understanding with Emirati Government agencies. One will be on exchanging best practices for promoting foreign direct investment and the other will be on promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. These MOUs will support the broader goals of the Strategic Dialogue and specifically address the focus areas of the economic, energy, and commercial partnership subcommittee.

Furthermore, we will announce soon our second digital attache who will cover digital trade issues and will be based in the UAE. I look forward to today’s discussion and to deepening our nations’ close relationship in the years to come. Thank you.

MR LENDERKING: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I now have the pleasure to invite Minister of State Al Zeyoudi to deliver his remarks.

STATE MINISTER AL ZEYOUDI: Thank you, Timothy. Good morning and good afternoon, everyone. It’s really an honor to be with my esteemed colleagues today of the start of the U.S.-UAE Strategic Dialogue. Let me as well thank His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed as well as his counterpart, Secretary Pompeo, for initiating this dialogue, as well as the Ambassador Al Otaiba and Rakolta for their ongoing support.

As you all know, the world is facing very challenging times, which makes today’s dialogue of great importance for the continued success of our bilateral relationship. Let me offer a few thoughts about the economic and trade relationship, some of the key areas that I think we can grow in the coming year.

For 11 years, the UAE has been the top U.S. export destination in the Middle East. In 2019, the U.S. enjoyed $15.7 billion U.S. trade surplus with the UAE, the U.S. third-largest trade surplus globally. This trade led to growth for U.S. businesses and supported 167,000 American jobs. As His Highness noted, the UAE is significant – number seven the U.S. direct investment under areas such as technology, infrastructure, health care, renewable energy, and chemicals, which are deepening our economic cooperation.

The UAE’s diverse and expanding unlimited (inaudible) economy, also created more collaboration, drives economic prosperity, as well as cultivates business opportunities. Of course, our Strategic Dialogue comes at a moment of great uncertainty with respect to the – both public health and global economy. We must be realistic in the face of the current global economic shut – downturn. Projection for the economic contraction will, of course, impact our trade bargain here and perhaps next year as well.

But during these challenging times, the UAE economy remains resilient with far-sighted leadership, deep financial resources, and global engagement (inaudible). The UAE knows how to put down (inaudible) to prosper in difficult condition, and the U.S. will, too.

I’m confident that the bilateral economic relationship will overcome the shock of the pandemic and continue to thrive. We are already seeing this in the way that the U.S. and the UAE partners have responded to the crisis – inventive ways. For example, the UAE’s Mubadala and its subsidiary, Strata Manufacturing, collaborated with Honeywell to develop N95 masks. Partnership sought to address the global need for personal protection equipment that many governments and organizations have struggled with since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.

We here and the Ministry of Economy can assure you that the UAE’s leadership is energetic about finding new areas to expand trade and investment all around the world, and especially with the U.S. This is why we at the Ministry of Economy are working closely together to engage with our partners and develop new approaches to global economic development. No partner is more important than the United States, and we know there is much to explore.

Let me just as well highlight and address the issue with respect to the 2019 Special 301 Report. The UAE has made significant progress in regards to the patent protection, destruction of counterfeit goods, and creation of a collective management society. We do hope that the recent shared trust of the UAE action plan with the U.S. side can act as a firm basis for constructive discussion between both sides. And I can assure you that there is a high-level resolve within the UAE Government to be removed from the USTR 301 Special Report and the intellectual property rights watch list.

Given the current economic challenges facing the world today, it’s even more crucial that we use this dialogue to work through hurdles and ensure a clear pathway to growth and mutual prosperity between our two countries. I’m confident that together, we’ve now further strengthened our economic partnership and help to lead the global restart and recovery. Thank you.

MR LENDERKING: Thank you, Mr. Minister. And now, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates Dr. Anwar Gargash, and Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Arab Emirates John Rakolta Jr., will sign and exchange the Memorandum of Understanding.

(The agreement was signed.)

MR LENDERKING: This Memorandum of Understanding memorializes that we are establishing a Strategic Dialogue between the United Arab Emirates and the United States as a forum for open, productive engagement and cooperation. This initiative recognizes the enduring partnership and common vision that we share for a secure, stable, and prosperous Middle East.

With the establishment of the Strategic Dialogue, we acknowledge the benefits of regular and robust engagement to exchange views and deepen our cooperation on areas of mutual interest.

(The agreement was signed.)

MR LENDERKING: Thank you, Secretary Pompeo, Minister bin Zayed, Secretary Ross, Minister of State Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State Al Bawardi, Minister of State Gargash, Ambassador Rakolta, and Ambassador Otaiba.

This concludes the virtual launch of the U.S.-UAE Strategic Dialogue. Thank you, everyone, for joining.

Uncategorised

At the Virtual Launch of the Inaugural U.S.-UAE Strategic Dialogue

20 Oct

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Washington, D.C.

MR LENDERKING: Good evening to those in Abu Dhabi, and good morning to those in Washington, D.C. Welcome to the virtual launch of the U.S.-UAE Strategic Dialogue and the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.

We are pleased to be joined by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates; His Excellency Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade of the United Arab Emirates; His Excellency Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bawardi, Minister of State for Defense Affairs of the United Arab Emirates; His Excellency Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates; His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States of America; the Honorable Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State, the United States of America; the Honorable Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce of the United States of America; the Honorable John Rakolta Jr., Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Arab Emirates.

Our program will begin with brief remarks from Secretary Pompeo, Minister bin Zayed, Secretary Ross, and Minister of State Al Zeyoudi. This will be followed by the signing of the U.S.-UAE Strategic Dialogue Memorandum of Understanding.

And now, please allow me to invite Secretary Pompeo to deliver his remarks.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Tim. Good morning, everyone. Good evening. Welcome to this launch of the first inaugural U.S.-UAE Strategic Dialogue. It’s a historic day, an important day, and it’s a great pleasure to be joined by my friends, Your Highness, my friend, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Your Excellencies, Ministers Zeyoudi, Bawardi, Gargash, and Ambassador Otaiba. Wilbur, John, Secretary Ross, Ambassador Rakolta, it’s great to be with you, too. Thanks for joining us. I regret so much that we can’t be here in person doing this alongside of each other. One day, before too long, we’ll do that.

During the Trump administration, the United States and the United Arab Emirates relationship has grown deeper and broader than at any point before. I think having this dialogue is evidence of that.

Sheikh Abdullah, we last saw each other at the White House for the signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords with Israel.

It was a brave step that will create more opportunities for peace, prosperity, and stability in the Middle East and all around the world.

In your meeting with President Trump that day, you described the UAE as a nation “full of hope” that “wants to attract more hope to the region.” So beautiful.

Today’s MOU will build on those hopes in eight key areas of partnership: politics, defense, law enforcement and border security, intelligence and counterterrorism, human rights, economics, cultural – culture and academics, and space.

I am confident that the United States and the UAE’s strategic partnership across every one of these dimensions will grow in the years to come.

The Trump administration prioritizes this relationship so highly because our two peoples have demonstrated how much we can accomplish together – not just talk, but action.

We’ve worked alongside one another towards peace in many countries in the Middle East.

The UAE too is a top investor here in America. And you’re our number-one export destination in the Middle East as well.

We both value the protection of religious freedoms and cooperate on human rights objectives, like ending human trafficking and empowering women to reach their God-given potential. I hope to see more of that in the future from the entire region.

We of course remain engaged on a number of regional issues, including healing the rifts among Arab Gulf partners and advancing the cause of peace in Libya and in Yemen.

And we stand together on the international stage to counter the greatest destructive force in the Middle East – the Iranian regime.

I want to personally thank the UAE for its support of our maximum pressure campaign, which has denied Tehran access to weapons valued at more than $70 billion.

We’re grateful, too, for your help to hold the regime accountable at the United Nations.

By working with us, the UAE has shown that you want the UN to do its job to hold – uphold peace and security in your region.

Look, in short, the UAE is an increasingly important global partner with the United States.

The world will see that again next year with Expo 2020 in Dubai, which had to be delayed just a bit.

For all those reasons – for all those reasons and more, this is one of America’s most valued relationships, and all of us here in the Trump administration look forward to discussing all this in person in Abu Dhabi soon as a follow-on to this launch today. We’ll continue to work on today’s challenges, including those presented by Iran, and new challenges like those presented by the Chinese Communist Party’s malign influence, which threatens the region’s people and freedom around the world. Let’s keep up our good work through the expo, through 2021, as the UAE celebrates 50 years of independence.

With that, I am happy and honored to turn it over to Sheikh Abdullah. Thank you for being with me today.

MR LENDERKING: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I now have the pleasure to invite His Highness Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed to deliver his remarks.

FOREIGN MINISTER ABDULLAH BIN ZAYED: Dear friend and Secretary Pompeo, I’m honored to be here witnessing another historical day that joins us together, the UAE and the United States. As you mentioned, we’re not in person but virtually. It is a challenge, no doubt, with COVID, but it’s – it just shows how determined both of us, at both the UAE Government and the American administration, are working together and have been working together for so many years. You mentioned that the UAE will be celebrating its 50th anniversary, but we’ll also be celebrating our 50th anniversary of relationship between these two nations.

Not too long, I was honored to be at the White House lawn celebrating the Abrahamic Accord. Today, we see another important milestone in the relationship between the UAE and Israel. And frankly, if it wasn’t for the assistance of the Trump administration, your personal effort, dear Secretary, and your team, who’ve been so committed in working towards broader relationship with the UAE but also a broader relationship with the region to bring in the region hope, peace, and prosperity.

Nineteen years ago, dear Secretary, we decided the UAE to join the efforts of the United States in going after terror which occurred on 9/11. That’s not enough. The voices of extremism, radicalism is still gaining momentum. We saw that recently in Paris. And we have to double down our efforts together in overcoming these extreme radical voices. There’s no doubt in my mind that your administration and many countries around the world are willing and capable. We have to make sure that our effort succeeds.

Dear Secretary, almost a decade ago the UAE signed with the United States the 123 Agreement, which was considered then a gold standard. That gold standard is a blessing today. We look at the nuclear concern of all of us in Iran, and we believe that that nuclear gold standard should be applied on Iran as well. I hope that such a gold standard will remind us that this could be another moment of a gold standard, of a relationship between the UAE and the United States.

I’m sure that the efforts of Ambassador Rakolta, Dr. Gargash, and Yousef Al Otaiba and many more in the United States and the UAE who have been very much working in a joint, friendly spirit for a stronger UAE relationship with the United States. We would like to see more jobs created in the United States. We are proud that we provide over 120,000 jobs with our investments in the United States. The UAE is the largest export destination in the Middle East for the United States, and I’m sure with less barriers between us and more efforts and more good work, we can achieve much more.

So thank you, Secretary, and please convey my gratitude to your administration and your team in D.C.

MR LENDERKING: Thank you, Your Highness. Please allow me to invite Secretary Ross to deliver his remarks.

SECRETARY ROSS: Thank you, Timothy, for that introduction. Thank you also to my neighbor, Ambassador Rokolta, for organizing this event. And my thanks to Secretary Pompeo for your incredible leadership on last month’s peace agreement in the Mideast. The Abraham Accords have transformed Middle East dynamics and provided so many people with hope. Thank you for hosting today’s discussion.

A warm welcome also to His Excellencies Abdullah bin Zayed and Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Zeyoudi who join us this morning. I am pleased that today we can discuss expanding the commercial ties between our two nations. This dialogue is critical as we rise from the global COVID-19 challenges facing both of our nations. We are two of the most innovative and advanced economies in the world. And the UAE is our third-largest trading partner in the MENA region with more than $24 billion in two-way trade in 2019. U.S. foreign direct investment in UAE was 27.6 billion last year, up 2.7 billion since 2016. And Emeriti FDI into the United States increased from 13.7 billion in 2016 to 17.1 billion last year.

While the current COVID crisis is still affecting the global trade system, I am encouraged by your nations efforts to diversify your economy. The government’s recent reorganization enables you to become more agile and to prepare for expansion into advanced manufacturing, renewable energy, and commercial space, plus providing innovative solutions to food security.

The UAE’s work in improving its intellectual property rights environment is also reassuring. Unfortunately, your country is in its third year of appearing on the USTR’s Special 301 Report Watchlist for not providing adequate and effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. However, your recent passage of the new pharmaceutical IEP regulation is a leap in the right direction and could make UAE the best and safest place in the Mideast to bring innovative pharmaceutical and biotech investment in technology.

My department is eager to have the U.S. Patent and Trade Office provide you with any technical assistance you might need to further refine your IPR practices. And my department’s International Trade Administration is looking forward to our upcoming data privacy technical workshops with the UAE in December.

U.S. companies have expressed concern about data localization efforts in the UAE. It cannot be overstated that adopting a data privacy framework based upon existing global models and best practices is critical to economic recovery and advancement. During the workshops, there will be discussions on data-flow regulations and a potential regional data framework. And in March next year, ITA’s global market’s team will host a two-day infrastructure roadshow in Abu Dhabi.

The first day’s infrastructure conference will enable UAE and regional government officials to present to an audience of U.S. companies and officials their upcoming major projects, such as smart cities, energy, and infrastructure, and highlight how U.S. companies can get more involved. The second day’s infrastructure summit will bring UAE and U.S. Government officials together to discuss how they can strategically support increased participation of UAE’s companies and UAE infrastructure projects.

These engagements will also offer great opportunities to engage on multiple advocacy cases across the Gulf. Within ITA, the Advocacy Center is currently assisting U.S. companies with 42 procurement cases in the UAE. The cumulative total project value of these approximates $10 billion, with 8.1 billion of U.S. content. The principal industries covered are aerospace and defense, safety and security, and energy.

Since 2016, the Advocacy Group has recorded seven project wins in the UAE with a total value of $2.3 billion. I encourage all of you here today to participate in both of these infrastructure events next spring. I also hope to welcome a delegation from UAE once more to the 2021 SelectUSA Investment Summit taking place June 6 to the 9th, 2021, here in Washington. This event provides a unique opportunity for Emirati business executives to meet with economic development organizations from across the United States.

Finally, I commend the UAE for hosting and organizing the upcoming World Expo in Dubai. Our U.S. Commercial Service will engage the U.S. business community in the Expo’s U.S. pavilion and will join you to celebrate the Expo’s conclusion in March 2022 by bringing our flagship Trade Winds Team Mission with over 100 U.S. companies to the UAE to explore export and trade opportunities. Meanwhile, the U.S. mission there is ready and willing to assist you in any way we can.

Before I close, I’m pleased to announce that the Department of Commerce is working to conclude two MOUs of understanding with Emirati Government agencies. One will be on exchanging best practices for promoting foreign direct investment and the other will be on promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. These MOUs will support the broader goals of the Strategic Dialogue and specifically address the focus areas of the economic, energy, and commercial partnership subcommittee.

Furthermore, we will announce soon our second digital attache who will cover digital trade issues and will be based in the UAE. I look forward to today’s discussion and to deepening our nations’ close relationship in the years to come. Thank you.

MR LENDERKING: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I now have the pleasure to invite Minister of State Al Zeyoudi to deliver his remarks.

STATE MINISTER AL ZEYOUDI: Thank you, Timothy. Good morning and good afternoon, everyone. It’s really an honor to be with my esteemed colleagues today of the start of the U.S.-UAE Strategic Dialogue. Let me as well thank His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed as well as his counterpart, Secretary Pompeo, for initiating this dialogue, as well as the Ambassador Al Otaiba and Rakolta for their ongoing support.

As you all know, the world is facing very challenging times, which makes today’s dialogue of great importance for the continued success of our bilateral relationship. Let me offer a few thoughts about the economic and trade relationship, some of the key areas that I think we can grow in the coming year.

For 11 years, the UAE has been the top U.S. export destination in the Middle East. In 2019, the U.S. enjoyed $15.7 billion U.S. trade surplus with the UAE, the U.S. third-largest trade surplus globally. This trade led to growth for U.S. businesses and supported 167,000 American jobs. As His Highness noted, the UAE is significant – number seven the U.S. direct investment under areas such as technology, infrastructure, health care, renewable energy, and chemicals, which are deepening our economic cooperation.

The UAE’s diverse and expanding unlimited (inaudible) economy, also created more collaboration, drives economic prosperity, as well as cultivates business opportunities. Of course, our Strategic Dialogue comes at a moment of great uncertainty with respect to the – both public health and global economy. We must be realistic in the face of the current global economic shut – downturn. Projection for the economic contraction will, of course, impact our trade bargain here and perhaps next year as well.

But during these challenging times, the UAE economy remains resilient with far-sighted leadership, deep financial resources, and global engagement (inaudible). The UAE knows how to put down (inaudible) to prosper in difficult condition, and the U.S. will, too.

I’m confident that the bilateral economic relationship will overcome the shock of the pandemic and continue to thrive. We are already seeing this in the way that the U.S. and the UAE partners have responded to the crisis – inventive ways. For example, the UAE’s Mubadala and its subsidiary, Strata Manufacturing, collaborated with Honeywell to develop N95 masks. Partnership sought to address the global need for personal protection equipment that many governments and organizations have struggled with since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.

We here and the Ministry of Economy can assure you that the UAE’s leadership is energetic about finding new areas to expand trade and investment all around the world, and especially with the U.S. This is why we at the Ministry of Economy are working closely together to engage with our partners and develop new approaches to global economic development. No partner is more important than the United States, and we know there is much to explore.

Let me just as well highlight and address the issue with respect to the 2019 Special 301 Report. The UAE has made significant progress in regards to the patent protection, destruction of counterfeit goods, and creation of a collective management society. We do hope that the recent shared trust of the UAE action plan with the U.S. side can act as a firm basis for constructive discussion between both sides. And I can assure you that there is a high-level resolve within the UAE Government to be removed from the USTR 301 Special Report and the intellectual property rights watch list.

Given the current economic challenges facing the world today, it’s even more crucial that we use this dialogue to work through hurdles and ensure a clear pathway to growth and mutual prosperity between our two countries. I’m confident that together, we’ve now further strengthened our economic partnership and help to lead the global restart and recovery. Thank you.

MR LENDERKING: Thank you, Mr. Minister. And now, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates Dr. Anwar Gargash, and Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Arab Emirates John Rakolta Jr., will sign and exchange the Memorandum of Understanding.

(The agreement was signed.)

MR LENDERKING: This Memorandum of Understanding memorializes that we are establishing a Strategic Dialogue between the United Arab Emirates and the United States as a forum for open, productive engagement and cooperation. This initiative recognizes the enduring partnership and common vision that we share for a secure, stable, and prosperous Middle East.

With the establishment of the Strategic Dialogue, we acknowledge the benefits of regular and robust engagement to exchange views and deepen our cooperation on areas of mutual interest.

(The agreement was signed.)

MR LENDERKING: Thank you, Secretary Pompeo, Minister bin Zayed, Secretary Ross, Minister of State Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State Al Bawardi, Minister of State Gargash, Ambassador Rakolta, and Ambassador Otaiba.

This concludes the virtual launch of the U.S.-UAE Strategic Dialogue. Thank you, everyone, for joining.

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On the Passing of Former Marshallese President Litokwa Tomeing

19 Oct

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

On behalf of the Government of the United States, I want to convey my deepest condolences to the family of former President Litokwa Tomeing and to the people of the Marshall Islands on his passing.

President Tomeing was a seminal figure in the founding institutions of his nation, including his role in the Marshall Islands Constitutional Convention.  The Republic of the Marshall Islands was blessed by his vibrant political career in local and national governments.  Perhaps one of his greatest legacies is the part he played in expanding the Marshall Islands’ international presence by successfully advocating for the establishment of the nation’s first consulate in the United States in Springdale, Arkansas to serve what is now the largest Marshallese community outside of the Marshall Islands.

We commend him for his decades of public service.  Together our two countries can honor his memory and legacy through our continued work together and commitment to shared values.

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United States Charges Russian Military Intelligence Officers for Cyber Crimes

19 Oct

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The criminal charges the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced today against six officers of the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate’s (GRU) Military Unit 74455 highlight once again Russia’s continuing disruptive, destructive, and destabilizing activities in cyberspace.

As the DOJ and FBI make clear, this Russian military intelligence unit unleashed some of the most destructive malware the world has seen.  The 2017 NotPetya cyber attack, which we publicly attributed previously to Russian military intelligence, was launched in Ukraine and caused billions of dollars in damage across Europe, Asia, and the Americas.  The GRU’s action disrupted the delivery of critical infrastructure services to the public, including in the transportation and healthcare sectors.

Meanwhile, the GRU’s targeting of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, after Russia was penalized for anti-doping violations, shows Russia’s willingness to use cyber capabilities to lash out at those who would hold it accountable for its malign behavior.  Another GRU cyber attack described in the indictment resulted in the disruption of critical electrical distribution networks and financial services in Ukraine.  Additional malicious cyber activities included in the indictment targeted organizations investigating the 2018 nerve agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and others in the UK.  Finally, the indictment describes GRU malicious cyber activity targeting government entities and private companies in Georgia and elections in France.

In sum, these cyber activities demonstrate a complete disregard for public safety and international stability.  Russia, which presents itself as a champion of stability in cyberspace, is in fact one of the global internet’s greatest disruptors.  We call on Russia to put an end to its irresponsible behavior.  Furthermore, we call upon all states that wish to see greater stability in cyberspace to join us in helping bring the actors charged today to justice.

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The United States Imposes Sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong Persons for Activities Related to Supporting the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines

19 Oct

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The international community has long recognized that the Iranian regime uses the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) to transport proliferation-sensitive items intended for Iran’s ballistic missile and military programs.  A provision of UN Security Council Resolution 1929 mandates vigilance when doing business with IRISL and entities owned or controlled by IRISL under certain circumstances.  This provision is now in effect due to the snapback of UN sanctions.

Today, the United States is sanctioning six entities and two individuals for conduct related to IRISL and its subsidiary, Hafez Darya Arya Shipping Company (HDASCO), pursuant to the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act Section 1244 (IFCA 1244).

On June 8, 2020, the State Department designated IRISL and IRISL’s Shanghai-based subsidiary, E-Sail Shipping Company Ltd., pursuant to Executive Order 13382 for their proliferation-related conduct.  The State Department warned that any stakeholder who continued doing business with IRISL or E-Sail was at risk of sanctions.

Since the June 2020 designation of IRISL and E-Sail, Reach Holding Group (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. and Reach Shipping Lines arranged for port berths for IRISL vessels at Chinese ports.  Reach Shipping Lines knowingly sold, supplied, or transferred four large container vessels to IRISL’s subsidiary, HDASCO.

Reach Holding Group (Shanghai) Company Ltd.; Reach Shipping Lines; Delight Shipping Co., Ltd.; Gracious Shipping Co. Ltd.; Noble Shipping Co. Ltd.; and Supreme Shipping Co. Ltd. are being designated pursuant to IFCA Section 1244(d)(1)(A) for having knowingly sold, supplied, or transferred to Iran significant goods or services used in connection with the shipping sector of Iran.  Eric Chen (Chen Guoping), Chief Executive Officer of Reach Holding Group (Shanghai) Company Ltd., and Daniel Y. He (He Yi), President of Reach Holding Group (Shanghai) Company Ltd., are also being sanctioned pursuant to Iran Sanctions Act Section 6(a)(11) as a part of this action. Delight Shipping Co., Ltd.; Gracious Shipping Co. Ltd.; Noble Shipping Co. Ltd.; and Supreme Shipping Co. Ltd. each knowingly sold, supplied, or transferred a large container vessel to Iran to be used in connection with the shipping sector of Iran.

In addition to the foregoing activities, since the June 2020 designation of IRISL and E-Sail pursuant to E.O.13382, Reach Holding Group (Shanghai) Company Ltd. and its subsidiary, Reach Shipping Lines, have provided services to IRISL, E-Sail, and HDASCO to help these Iranian shipping entities evade the consequences of U.S. sanctions.  For instance, during this time, Reach Holding Group (Shanghai) Company Ltd. has also taken actions and performed certain services for IRISL and its subsidiaries specifically designed to shield Chinese entities from U.S. sanctions; likewise, Reach Shipping Lines has been involved in activities, services, and the provision of goods to IRISL and its subsidiaries intended to conceal IRISL and it subsidiaries’ activities from Chinese government, industry, and maritime stakeholders.  Additionally, Reach Holding Group (Shanghai) Company Ltd. has also worked on behalf of IRISL and its subsidiaries to conceal these Iranian entities activities in the PRC including by lying to Chinese companies about the roles of IRISL and its subsidiaries in shipments and by falsifying documents and engaging in other deceptive practices so that Chinese government, industry, and maritime stakeholders would not know about IRISL and its subsidiaries activities in the PRC.

Today, we reiterate a warning to stakeholders worldwide:  If you do business with IRISL, you risk U.S. sanctions.

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The United States Designates Al Qa’ida Financial Facilitator

19 Oct

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Today, the United States continued to disrupt the financial and logistical networks that support Al Qa’ida (AQ) operations in the Middle East and around the world by designating a financial facilitator.  Ahmed Luqman Talib is being designated pursuant to Executive Order 13224 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial or material support for, or goods or services to or in support of, AQ.  Additionally, the company Talib and Sons, which is owned, controlled, or directed by Talib, is being designated.

Ahmed Luqman Talib is involved in operational and facilitation activities on behalf of Al Qa’ida, in furtherance of AQ objectives.

Talib and Sons PTY LTD, a gemstone company located in Australia, is owned, controlled, or directed by Ahmed Luqman Talib.  Talib has had financial dealings in a number of countries, and his business dealing in gemstones has provided him the ability to move funds internationally for the benefit of AQ.

The United States has made significant progress in degrading AQ’s support networks around the world.  We will not relent in our efforts to target AQ’s terrorist activities and those who support them.

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Meeting of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

19 Oct

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Today, I was honored to convene the Trump Administration’s third meeting of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, a cabinet-level entity that consists of 20 agencies across the federal government responsible for coordinating U.S. efforts to combat all forms of human trafficking. I was joined by Deputy Secretary Biegun and Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump.

Task Force members underscored the Administration’s strong commitment to combating human trafficking, commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, pledged to build on 20 years of progress in the anti-trafficking movement, and discussed key State Department initiatives.  This year’s Presidential Award for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons was presented to A21 North Carolina for its work to reduce vulnerability and provide essential aftercare services to survivors, and to the Navajo Nation for its leadership in preventing and combating human trafficking in Native communities.

Our civil society partners have reported that residential shelters have cut back services, governments have redirected resources to COVID-19 responses, borders have closed, economies have slowed dramatically, and traffickers have exploited COVID-19 restrictions to profit even more from sex and labor trafficking.  In response to the impact of COVID-19 on efforts to combat human trafficking around the world, the State Department announced earlier this year, a year-long open competition for proposed projects to address this impact and to support government responses.  In the coming months, this initiative will provide up to $3.5 million in foreign assistance funds to support organizations operating in rapidly changing environments and facing the short- and long-term impacts of COVID-19.

Survivor engagement continues to be a central tenet of the federal government’s and the Department’s approach to combating human trafficking.  In the two years since we established the Human Trafficking Expert Consultant Network, experts have advised the Department on more than 20 matters, informed us on nearly $50 million in new global investments, and contributed to the 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report.  In the coming year, we look forward to the Network’s support on our COVID-19 response.

The State Department’s largest anti-trafficking program – the Program to End Modern Slavery – is a step closer to helping us understand the magnitude of human trafficking.   At the meeting, I shared that the Department and the University of Georgia hosted a forum this year to evaluate the prevalence of human trafficking in six countries around the world.   By combining what we learn from these studies, we will be able to identify the most effective strategies for developing human trafficking estimates that are industry specific and geographically restricted.

Finally, the Department will continue to strongly condemn the Chinese Communist Party’s egregious practice of forced labor, among other human rights abuses, as part of its campaign of repression against Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in the Xinjiang, and throughout China.  In response, the United States has leveled visa restrictions on PRC government and Chinese Communist Party officials believed to be responsible for such horrific human rights abuses, built coalitions through platforms like the United Nations General Assembly, and issued the Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory.  As long as the CCP continues to perpetrate such abuses, we will continue to work with industry, labor advocates, and other governments to call attention to the issue and pressure the government to immediately halt its unacceptable policy of forced labor.

This Administration is resolute in its commitment to ending human trafficking everywhere in the world.  This horrific crime cannot continue to threaten the safety of communities and individuals, and we will push forward in defeating it.

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Secretary Michael R. Pompeo At the Three Seas Virtual Summit and Web Forum

19 Oct

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Washington, D.C.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  (In progress) — stands for the rule of law, democracy, freedom of expression.  We drive economic growth through innovation.  We protect our people.

And our way of life is the envy for the entire world.

Look at the freedoms for which the people of Belarus and Iran and Hong Kong risk beatings and imprisonment.

Look at the countries to which refugees from Libya and Syria decide they want to flee.

Look at the universities to which top students from China flock to study.

No one can dispute this:  Our way of life is synonymous with peace, prosperity, and freedom like none other.  For 75 years, the United States and the free nations of Europe have cooperated to protect that.

That cooperation has endured under President Trump:

Just since July I’ve been to the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Austria, Poland, and Croatia – all nations represented here today – not to mention visits to other friends in the United Kingdom and Denmark, Cyprus, Greece, and Italy.

Those trips were all about finding ways to work together – on everything from recovering from the pandemic, to protecting our people from the Chinese Communist Party, to making sure energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean is done peacefully and with respect for sovereignty.

Look, I’m with you today – just as President Trump was three years ago – because we can keep winning together through the Three Seas Initiative.

Look, we’ve got real opportunities in front of us to improve the lives of our people.  We must seize them.

We have an opportunity to jump-start growth and attract private sector investment now, while raising living standards for the long term.

Also, we have an opportunity to link together our infrastructure and energy markets in ways that will generate economic security for generations to come.  That’s something that Deputy Secretary Menezes will address later today.

We have an opportunity to keep European nations strong, free, and aligned with the United States, as my country wants them to be.

A well-funded, action-oriented Three Seas Initiative will help achieve all of these shared goals.

Right now, as we sit here, the authoritarians in Moscow and Beijing are dangling infrastructure deals as a way to gain strategic and political leverage over free people.  We’ve seen this with Nord Stream 2.  We’ve seen the crushing effects of Chinese infrastructure deals around the world, from Laos to Montenegro, and to Pakistan.

The Three Seas Initiative matters much more than it would have even five or ten years ago.  It’s so much more important.  The United States does not want to see authoritarian powers again compromise the sovereignty or liberty of our free-world friends.

Indeed, we’ve demonstrated that resolve.  In that same speech in Munich last February, I announced the United States would fund up to a billion dollars in Three Seas infrastructure projects.  Can’t wait to get started on that.

That announcement has helped galvanize subsequent investments and enthusiasm for the very reason we are here together today.

Look, that’s real money for a free future.  The United States has skin in the game, and we look forward to every member of the Three Seas Initiative contributing as well.

In the end – in the end, ultimately, the responsibility for freedom and prosperity lies with you.

The early indications are fantastic.  The early indications are that you’re meeting that moment:

You’ve developed the necessary legal, financial, analytic tools to start making concrete investments.

You’ve created your own Investment Fund, one that is run by a private entity, free of political influence.  That’s powerful.

And almost all the Three Seas countries have already invested or committed to invest in the Fund.

That’s a tremendous foundation.  You have come a long way since the Summit in Ljubljana.  But you must go much further, by the next Leaders Meeting, to make the most of the Initiative’s vast potential.

It starts, as it often does, with more skin in the game.  Those member-states that have not yet invested in the Fund should do so now, and other member-states should make additional investments.

Second, government investments in the Investment Fund are useful, but nothing can match the financial might of the private sector.  You, we, must grow the Fund by attracting private capital and investment.

To do that, the private sector needs a fair and level playing field.  It’s all they ask for.  It’s essential that national policies be as attractive as possible, not favor state-owned enterprises, or put politics in the way of their investment.

I’m also confident that the private investment will increase if we strengthen the antibodies of corruption.  Investors need to see basic protections in place all across the region.  Commit to transparency, accountability, and financial sustainability in public infrastructure, as reflected in the standards of the Blue Dot Network.

On security, the Chinese Communist Party is just waiting to vacuum up your data.  Commit to excluding unreliable vendors from our critical telecommunications, energy, and transportation networks.

To ensure continuity and greater progress between presidencies, you should develop a Secretariat as your face to the world.

And finally – and I think this is what we hope to accomplish during this gathering – words must become action.  Look, I understand you are looking at a number of transnational projects.  That’s great.  I urge you to move the first of them from concept to shovel-ready stages very quickly.  Nothing – nothing can better demonstrate that the Three Seas Initiative is real and moving forward than to translate the concept into reality.

As you move forward, you should know you will not be alone.  America is with you.

First and foremost, our financial commitment remains, and you’ll hear from my colleague, Under Secretary Keith Krach, who represents me on the DFC Board of Directors.

Offers of other forms of cooperation are also on the table.  Let us know how we can help.

We’re proud to be part of this.  We’re proud to assist you because our countries are bound by so much more than fiber optic cables or pipelines or roads.

We stand with our European friends on the mighty bedrock of freedom and democracy, a foundation of friendship now and for the ages to come.

Thank you.

May God bless you.

And may God bless the United States and Europe.

Thank you, Madam President.

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Status of UN Arms Embargo on Iran

18 Oct

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

On September 19, virtually all UN sanctions on Iran returned, including re-imposition of the UN arms embargo. Accordingly, the export of certain conventional arms to Iran is a violation of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1929 and the procurement of any arms or related materiel from Iran is a violation of UNSCR 1747. The United States is prepared to use its domestic authorities to sanction any individual or entity that materially contributes to the supply, sale, or transfer of conventional arms to or from Iran, as well as those who provide technical training, financial support and services, and other assistance related to these arms.

Every nation that seeks peace and stability in the Middle East and supports the fight against terrorism should refrain from any arms transactions with Iran. Providing arms to Iran will only aggravate tensions in the region, put more dangerous weapons into the hands of terrorist groups and proxies, and risk increasing threats to the security of Israel and other peaceful nations. For the past 10 years, countries have refrained from selling weapons to Iran under various UN measures. Any country that now challenges this prohibition will be very clearly choosing to fuel conflict and tension over promoting peace and security.

Any nation that sells weapons to Iran is impoverishing the Iranian people by enabling the regime’s diversion of funds away from the people and toward the regime’s military aims. The regime has a choice: it can pursue the purchase of weapons in violation of UN sanctions measures, or the regime can use its funds to provide for the Iranian people. Today, Iranians are suffering because the regime continues to withhold nearly $1 billion from the Iranian Health Ministry for its COVID-19 response, despite calls from Iranian health officials to provide needed funding. The regime is responsible for the consequences of how it allocates the Iranian people’s resources. Decades of corruption and radical policies by the regime’s leaders are responsible for the decay of a great nation. We stand with the Iranian people against tyranny, the squandering of their resources, and the regime’s efforts to crush their struggle for freedom.

The United States desires peace with Iran and hopes for the day when its leaders share that goal. When the regime’s leaders abandon their dreams of exporting revolution, they will find a welcoming and generous partner in Washington.

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On the Passing of Former Palau President Kuniwo Nakamura

16 Oct

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

On behalf of the Government of the United States, I want to convey my deepest condolences to the family of former President Kuniwo Nakamura and the people of Palau on his passing. President Nakamura was a great statesman who guided Palau’s independence and fostered the emergence of our close and enduring relationship of free association.

Together, our two countries honor his memory and legacy through our commitment to shared values. As President Nakamura told the UN General Assembly, Palau is “large in things that count” including “a commitment to human rights and a democratic government.” In this time of mourning, please accept our profound sympathies and our reassurance that the United States will remember President Nakamura’s friendship and his commitment to the best possible future for the people of Palau.

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