MODERATOR: How about this? Here’s a woman who needs absolutely no introduction. (Laughter.) Everyone please welcome Secretary of State, our boss, Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am delighted to see all of you here. And I am also pleased to see the Ambassador and her family. We’ve been friends for a long time. And I am uniquely qualified to tell you something you probably already know because you’re in very good hands.
But it’s a treat to be here. I want to thank DCM Tim Betts, who is famously calm in a crisis, and Paul O’Friel, who has been instrumental in putting this trip together, and to each and every one of you, Americans and Hungarians alike. Thank you for working so hard on behalf of this very important relationship.
I want to just name a few specifics because this last year you helped (inaudible) a bilateral tax treaty that we hope will encourage U.S. business investment. You just completed negotiations for an air marshal agreement that will enhance security for passengers traveling between our two countries. We’re working hard with the Hungarian Government to expand our operation at Embassy Budapest and bring everyone under one roof, which I know you’re anticipating. And I’m so grateful because these are just some examples of what you do every single day.
Today, the prime minister and I had, as we say in diplo-speak, a very open, frank conversation, productive and comprehensive, and we engaged in all the sensitive issues that you work on every day – Roma inclusion, the importance of an independent media, the rule of law, on an independent judiciary, constitutional reform. We think that’s all very important, and I thank you for your efforts.
In the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Report, which is the QDDR, which we issued last year, we highlighted the work done in Debrecen as an example of an innovative way to boost our engagement not just with a government but with the people of the country. By co-hosting a high school trivia contest about the United States, an anti-tolerance – or pro-tolerance campaign, English language instruction, American holiday celebrations, you really helped to convey American culture and values. And we need more creative ideas like that.
I also want to thank you for the work that you’ve done on this trip, and right before the 4th of July and right in the middle of congressional delegations, so I know you’ve had a really busy time. This is going to be a golden week for all of you. (Laughter.) And I know, too, that there’s one person in particular that I have been asked to thank because this person went above and beyond, and that’s Riley Lynch, who wore a lot of different hats – acting management counselor, human resources officer, supervisory general services officer, and logistics control for two CODELs as well as for me. He will be the happiest man in Hungary – (laughter) – when we all get out of your hair and our various planes take off.
In addition to thanking all of our American colleagues, I especially want to thank your local staff because, very honestly, secretaries come and go and ambassadors come and go and even political counselors and econ officers come and go, but the local staff stay and provide continuity and sort of a historical memory and insight. And one person who has done this longer than anyone else is the political section’s Tamas Zemplin. And where is Tamas? (Applause.) Tamas will end his tenure after 40 years with the Embassy. And you’ve seen a lot in the last four decades, my friend. (Laughter.) We thank you for being part of this American-Hungarian team that has seen the move from communism, the incredible freedom that came to your country, and so much else.
So let me thank you all. On behalf of myself and on the entire team in Washington, I really appreciate you, whether you’re State, USAID, Justice, Commerce, DOD, or wherever else you’re from in the United States Government, because you’ve done us all proud. And this relationship is one that we’re deeply invested in and will continue to broaden and deepen and strengthen in every way possible. So thank you all very much.