Ambassador Pommersheim’s Speech at Reception Celebrating American Independence

Шом ба хайр дустони азиз! RESPECTED MINISTER MUHRIDDIN Аз ташрифи шумо ба Сафорати Иёлоти Муттаҳидаи Амрико дар шаҳри зебои Душанбе бисёр шодем. (Good evening, friends.  I want to welcome you all to the Embassy of the United States of America here in beautiful Dushanbe.)

Today we are celebrating our 243rd anniversary when the United States adopted the Declaration of Independence.

That isn’t the only anniversary we are celebrating this month in the United States. 50 years ago on July 20 in 1969, the United States successfully landed the first two people on the moon – Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin. I remember watching the landing with my parents as a small child and being amazed at limitless horizons that will forever stretch out before mankind.  On this day as we celebrate American Independence we reflect on the human spirit that makes achievement possible.

The idea expressed in our declaration of independence 243 years ago — that all men are created equal and enjoy the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — was the source of our claim to be independent.  It has since then remained the guiding principle that has made America what it is today.  In the United States, our road to independence was not an easy one.  We faced many difficulties including a bloody civil war.  But we are proud that our society, despite the many challenges it continues to face nevertheless provides individuals the freedom and opportunities and express themselves and to innovate.  This has made America a leader in many fields of human endeavor.

Here in Tajikistan, we have partnered with the Tajik government and civil society to help support the country’s sovereignty and independence from the very beginning.

Over the last 27 years, the United States has remained committed to our diplomatic partnership and Tajikistan’s development providing more than $1.8 billion in assistance in programs and humanitarian aid that support Tajikistan’s democratic institutions, health care, education, security, and economic growth.

Last month, I visited the Tajik-Afghan border where heavy machinery that the U.S. Embassy gave to Tajikistan’s security forces are being used to create a more secure border. We strongly support Tajikistan’s sovereignty and we continue to partner with Tajikistan on border security: we will continue to provide their forces with high quality equipment and training.

On the economy, we continue to promote regional integration. It was a pleasure attend an investment forum put on by the Tajik government with support from USAID in the city of Kulob.   We will continue to support activities that foster trade and economic growth in Central Asia because our view is that economic integration is the future.

As Tajikistan has made important strides since its independence, so has our support. Starting as humanitarian assistance, USAID programs now seek to promote economic growth in energy, agriculture, and trade, as well as education and health.

I want to thank you for coming here this evening and celebrating with us this important anniversary. We value our partnership with each of you, because as you know our bilateral relationship is only as strong as our people-to-people ties.

It has been an honor to serve these last several months as the United States Ambassador to Tajikistan, and I have enjoyed getting to know this country, its culture and its people.

Last week, I traveled to Khujand to celebrate the renovation of Tajikistan’s first education establishment for women – the Oim Madrasa in Konibodom. There, I experienced the wonderful hospitality of the Tajik people, and tonight I’m happy to extend just a bit of American hospitality to you.

I would like to end with a quote from Rumi on the importance of connecting with friends.

То нақши висоли дӯст бо мост,
Моро ҳама умр худ тамошост.

Despite all the turmoil and challenges we face in the world today, let us take hope in the human spirit and work together as partners and friends respecting our diversity to build a safe, prosperous and peaceful world for all.

Tonight, we would like to give you a taste of small town America, which is our party theme this evening.

I would like to thank our sponsors: COMSUP Commodities, General Electric, Nurafzo Diagnostics Center, and the Coca Cola Icecek [ee-che-chek] Company. Without their generous contributions, this celebration would not have been possible.

Thank you for coming. I would now like to invite Foreign Minister Muhriddin – Mr. Minister/Janobi Vazir, we are greatly honored by your presence this evening — to give remarks.  Хуш омадед!