I warmly congratulate President Van Rompuy and my new counterpart High Representative Ashton. I look forward to working closely with them to strengthen and broaden our partnership -- from achieving stability in Afghanistan to securing Iranian compliance with its nonproliferation obligations and promoting a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, among many other shared objectives.
I also want to salute Javier Solana and Benita Ferrero-Waldner for their service as High Representative and External Relations Commissioner. These talented diplomats have been trusted friends and valued partners.
The United States and Europe form a community of values. We are united by our deep commitment to freedom, security, human rights, the rule of law, and open markets. Our 800 million citizens are bound together by enduring links of culture and commerce, by our shared history and our common hopes for the future. We are working together as partners to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of the 21st century. With the appointment of these distinguished leaders, I am more confident than ever that together we can build a more peaceful and prosperous world.