AMBASSADOR GALT: Brigadier General Badral, Member of Parliament Amarzaya, Governor Naranbaatar, Chairman Sugir, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
It is a great pleasure to participate in the opening of Gobi Wolf 2017.
In a year marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of U.S.-Mongolia diplomatic relations, this exercise is a superb example of the continuing close cooperation between our two countries.
I want to thank Deputy Prime Minister Khurelsukh for the support he and the Mongolian government demonstrate for expanded collaboration in the area of disaster preparedness and response.
I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to Brigadier General Badral and the National Emergency Management Agency for their work to stage this exercise. The U.S. Government is pleased to partner with NEMA in this and in other areas and activities.
Thanks as well to Governor Naranbaatar and Chairman Sugir for so kindly hosting us in your beautiful province.
I am particularly pleased that this year’s Gobi Wolf exercise again includes partners from across the region. I would like to welcome not only the U.S. participants, but also our Bangladeshi, Canadian, Japanese, Korean, Nepali, and Turkish counterparts. Thank you for your efforts in realizing this very important activity.
Finally, I would like to thank the many heads of agencies and other officials from across the Mongolian government for attending today and for demonstrating continued commitment to preparing for the unexpected.
We are reminded often that natural disasters – earthquakes, forest and steppe fires, dzuds, floods, and drought, to name a few – are common in Mongolia and around the world.
It is thus in our shared interest to be prepared at all times.
Exercises like Gobi Wolf help us gauge whether agencies are ready to prevent loss of life and ease human suffering during and in the aftermath of a natural disaster.
I understand this year’s exercise builds upon the lessons learned from the successful 2016 exercise in Erdenet.
Conducting exercises outside Ulaanbaatar is important, as it provides national leadership with opportunities to practice responding to an incident far from home, while testing its command and control systems.
In disaster situations, the international community stands ready to offer additional support, and we are pleased that many non-governmental organizations are participating in this year’s Gobi Wolf exercise. Their assistance will also be vital in the event of a disaster.
We have much to learn from each other, and I wish you all a successful exercise.
I also look forward to future Gobi Wolf exercises and to continued cooperation with the Mongolian government and our international partners in the next three decades and beyond.