Hôtel Golden Tulip, Moroni
July 4, 2022
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for welcoming me to the Union of the Comoros and for joining us here today to celebrate the 246th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of the United States.
This has been an exciting week for me – my first trip to your beautiful country; presenting my credentials to His Excellency President Azali; participating in Comoros’ 47th National Day – congratulations! – and now hosting our first in-person Independence Day celebration in Comoros in over two years.
The last two years have been a challenge for us all. I applaud the Comorian government, community leaders, parents, teachers, and all those who have helped launch awareness campaigns and implement COVID 19 vaccination clinics. We are proud to have partnered with you – since March 2022 the United States has donated more than 250,000 doses of the safe and effective Pfizer vaccine to Comoros. And you should be proud that Comoros has one of the region’s highest vaccination rates.
One of my top goals as Ambassador is to strengthen people-to-people ties between our two countries. The U.S. Embassy already provides scholarships, offers exchange programs, and facilitates English-language learning, among other professional development opportunities. But we can do more. In the coming days, I plan to announce a series of new investments designed to expand and deepen our engagement here.
What I can say now is that this trip marks a new chapter in our bilateral relationship. My team and I are identifying ways to increase our efforts on education and youth engagement, to broaden our development and security assistance, and to bring Peace Corps Volunteers back – because we know that’s what’s important to you, and that’s what partnerships are all about.
We are also impressed by the rapid progress Comoros is making toward World Trade Organization accession, and we commend your government for its bold efforts to join 159 other WTO member countries. We look forward to working with you to ensure your future WTO membership brings the maximum benefits to Comoros and the Comorian people.
We want to help you achieve the vision outlined in your Emerging Comoros Plan 2030, to attract high quality foreign direct investment, and to unlock the potential of U.S. trade preference programs like the Generalized System of Preferences and the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
More personally, I want to help you in your efforts to conserve the incredible flora, fauna, and marine ecosystems found in the Comoros islands. I look forward to working with the government, civil society, and non-profit organizations on environmental conservation issues and climate change mitigation. I cannot wait to visit Moheli National Park, and I am delighted to hear that your government is planning to increase the number of protected areas.
Comoros faces other security threats given its geographic location in the heart of the Mozambique Channel, including drug trafficking, terrorism threats, and illegal fishing in Comorian waters. The United States is eager to work with your military, coast guard, and law enforcement authorities to help ensure Comoros has the capabilities it needs to protect itself from external threats and to monitor your territorial waters.
I also want to salute the efforts Comoros has made to prevent human trafficking, to assist the victims of human trafficking, and to bring those responsible for trafficking crimes to justice.
Finally, for Americans, our Independence Day is a time to reflect upon our nation’s founding principles: that all people are created equal, and that these people have fundamental rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly.
Creating and maintaining a thriving, healthy democracy takes constant effort. But democracy is also the best way to unleash human potential, defend human dignity, and solve big problems. When people with opposing views find ways to work together, as you have started to do with your National Dialogue, it helps create stability and ensure democratic governments are responsive to their people.
And you can trust that the United States will be your partner in this work. We share your vision of a peaceful, prosperous, and thriving Comoros with responsive governance for all.
So let us consider today the start of a new chapter in U.S.-Comoros relations. I look forward to working with all of you to unleash the potential in our bilateral relationship, and to expand and deepen our cooperation in ways that benefit the Comorian and American people.
Thank you – and Happy Fourth of July!