On Independence Day, we reflect on the importance of U.S. support for democracy and human rights around the world. These core principles are as critical as ever as the world combats the COVID-19 pandemic. We stand with our partners in Tajikistan during this health crisis, and the United States has already provided more than $5 million in assistance to Tajikistan to help defeat COVID-19.
We applaud the many Tajiks who are acting out of a spirit of social responsibility to practice social distancing, mask wearing, and other measures to keep one another safe. I want to express my condolences to those who have lost loved ones or been affected by this pandemic. We also honor the medical workers who have risked their lives to save others. Heroes come in many forms. We will remember as heroes the people who treated the sick, provided food to the hungry, and risked their lives to help others throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a scourge affecting the entire globe.
Last year at this time, I and my Embassy Dushanbe colleagues welcomed several hundred Tajik guests, including Foreign Minister Sirodjidin Muhriddin as our guest of honor, to our Embassy in the western part of Dushanbe for a “Home Town USA” July 4th celebration. I had just arrived in Dushanbe several months earlier, and it was a happy occasion to celebrate with new friends and partners against the backdrop of Dushanbe’s beautiful mountainous skyline. Tajik guests included students (including participants in our exchange programs), artists, business and government people, teachers and scholars.
This year, we celebrate our Independence Day with heavy hearts, thinking about those who face risks to their health and livelihood from this crisis – but we know that better days will come. Our relationship with Tajikistan remains strong, and we will overcome this crisis together. We look forward to welcoming friends and partners to our Embassy again soon. And our work to strengthen our partnership continues despite the current crisis.
Just this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo chaired a virtual meeting of Central Asian foreign ministers in the C5+1 format to discuss ways to intensify regional cooperation.
Please enjoy the special July 4th content on our platform, including a special song by the AFCENT band. To my fellow Americans, Happy Independence Day, and to our Tajik friends, “Salomat boshed” (be healthy).