November 3, 2010
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, my goodness. Thank you so much. Well, it is my great pleasure to be here and to have this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for the work you do on behalf of the United States and the relationship between the United States and Papua New Guinea. I want to thank you very much, Ms. (inaudible), for that excellent introduction and through your work here as vice president of the FSN Committee. And I want to thank the Ambassador and Mrs. Corbin-Taylor for their warm welcome and for the work that is done here every day.
I know that eventually you’ll be moving into a new Embassy compound. The Ambassador pointed out to me where it’s going to be situated, and I am pleased that it will reflect the really important relationship that we are building between our two countries. And I have seen it in so many ways, but certainly, standing out at the Mangrove Tree event when I first arrived brought home to me how important it is that we promote the priorities of Papua New Guinea; we help protect the biodiversity and the land, the people from the effects of climate change; that we help to spur economic growth so that more people have a better life; that we also create more opportunities for women and girls – something that I care deeply about – all while doing what we can to fight climate change and protect the environment so that the country is not adversely affected by all of these changes.
The friendship between our countries dates back to World War II, and then the 35 years of diplomatic relations. And I just came from my courtesy call with the governor general, who, as you know, was the very first ambassador to the United States after diplomatic relations. But he was not only the ambassador to the United States; he was also the ambassador to Canada and Mexico. So he was a very busy man. He informed he had visited all 50 states. So I was very impressed with that.
But you each are playing a very important role because everything we’re trying to do to broaden and deepen our relationship would not be possible without you. You’re helping the government and the people manage natural resources, improve the financial system, fight disease. And I know it’s not always easy because it’s a small staff with a lot of responsibilities, but I deeply appreciate, as does President Obama, your service here on behalf of our Embassy.
And I want to thank you for the volunteer projects, because many of you go beyond what you do at work every day. You worked closely with the governor’s office to clean up a beach on Earth Day, and you have worked hard to make this visit a success, especially after the disappointment of my having to cancel it the first time because of the earthquake in Haiti. Well, I’m finally here and I’m excited to see for myself what we can do to really grow this relationship.
So I want to thank you and I want to greet you so that I can personally express my appreciation for your service. Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)