SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Rick. Well, good afternoon. It is a great pleasure for me to be here and to have this opportunity to come and thank this embassy community. I want to thank the ambassador for his long service to our country, as well as DCM Doug Greene, and I’m delighted to have this chance to stop and pay tribute to all of you for everything you do every single day.
This is about to fall over. (Laughter.) I don’t want it taking off and spearing anybody.
There are some special thanks to management counselor Kristi Hogan and control officer Susanne Rose who did so much to make this trip possible. I think – I hope, anyway, it was a little bit easier than the last time I was here, where I think the Embassy in 2009 got 48 hours notice on Halloween, and the city was jam-packed with visitors for a Formula One race.
So it’s great to be here under slightly less stressful circumstances, and I’m delighted that we’re here in this beautiful embassy compound for us to celebrate the greening of our Embassy and to recognize what a leader the UAE is in renewable energy. When I leave here, I’ll be visiting some of the exciting research and work that is being done here. And certainly, for the UAE to have won the right to be the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency is quite a tribute to our host country.
I’m here in large measure because I want to have conversations with our friends and partners, not only in government, but in civil society and particularly among young people. I had a great meeting earlier today at the university, Zayed University, with a lot of the young students there, and I’m looking for ways that we can strengthen and deepen our relationship. There are lots of exciting changes happening in this region, and the United States is proud to be a partner.
As the Ambassador just said, we have completed our first ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, the so-called QDDR. It’s going to be a real roadmap to how we want to build our diplomatic and development functions in cooperation with our defense partners and to put forth the strongest possible position in furtherance of national security, values, and interests of the United States. Everything that we’re doing in the QDDR and that we’re trying to work with you on out of Washington is to support the day-to-day work of this and other embassies – how you promote trade at every level; how you maintain excellent relations with not only the government, but with civil society; how you make sure that the visa process is working well for everyone; and put out a message of partnership and cooperation to the media.
I know that in addition to our Americans who are here, we have a terrific local staff. I am told that this local staff represents 27 different nations, so that’s quite an accomplishment. And I really appreciate what you do for the Embassy and supporting America’s engagement here in the Emirates. So we appreciate all of you, and I think that there is a lot ahead of us because of the challenges that we face not only here, but around the world. But there is no doubt in my mind that the interests of the United States and our relationships are furthered because of what you do every single day. You make me proud to represent the United States as I travel around the world, and I hope that you will continue doing the work that we rely on to make sure that our message, our efforts are going to be productive.
So if I can, what I’d like to do is maybe start down there and shake some hands, Rick, if that’s okay, and have a chance to personally thank as many of you as possible. This weather is fabulous. It’s a well-kept secret. Come to the UAE in January and feel the breezes, and really it could hardly be more pleasant.
So, thank you again for everything that you do, and please keep up the great work. (Applause.)