SECRETARY CLINTON: Hello, everyone. It is wonderful to see you and to be here back in Lima again, to thank each and every one of you in person for all that you do every single day on behalf of this vital relationship between the United States and Peru. Ambassador Likins summed it up in talking about our three priorities. But as you know so well, under each of those priorities there are so many tasks to do – so many opportunities, so many visas to process, so many contacts to have, so many people to be reached out to and to talk with about what we can do to make our relationship even stronger in the future.
Now, I view Peru as a success story because I see the progress that has been made in this country, from looking at all of the changes that have occurred from lowering the rate of poverty and crime and the threat of violent extremism to creating new opportunities for people throughout the country. And the United States wants to continue to be a good partner and – to the people and Government of Peru – try to do even more together.
We are not only, though, a good partner here at this Embassy; we’re also a good neighbor. And I’m very proud of each of you because I know that, for example, the U.S. Embassy Employee Association raised $75,000 at your last art show to help in struggling communities. And we want to not only have government-to-government relationships but people-to-people, and you are doing that. And I’m delighted to see some of the family members who are here in this community.
I also want to thank all the local staff. Will all our local Peruvian staff raise your hands so that we can give you all a round of applause and express our appreciation to you? (Applause.)
I am delighted that we can have this chance to come back to Lima. I’m excited because I’ll get to spend some time with the President and other high officials. I will also be speaking about the need for social inclusion, for prosperity that touches everyone, for making sure women are given the opportunity to improve their lives and the lives of their families and communities. And so there’s a lot on our plate.
I know that many of you have served in our Foreign Service or civil service all over the world, and sometimes in very dangerous and unstable places. And I want you to know how much I appreciate you and your family for your service.
I started a tradition when I became Secretary of State, in the holiday season to have a special party for the families of those who are on unaccompanied tours, because it’s hard. It’s hard being away from home, and it’s especially hard if you’re alone away from home. So seeing the faces of the children and the young people who are here gives me a great sense of how important this mission is, how important our relationship with Peru and the entire hemisphere is, and how much work we still have ahead of us.
So what I’d like to do, Rose, if I could, is maybe to shake some hands and thank people personally as I go down the line. But please know that President Obama and I know very well that what we do in Washington would be just words on paper were it not for what you do every single day on behalf of the people of the United States and our relationship with the people and Government of Peru.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.)