On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I congratulate the people of Malawi as they celebrate a half century of independence on July 6.
This year also marks 20 years of multiparty democracy in Malawi. The recent elections served as an example of a peaceful change of government for the entire region. Malawians spoke from the ballot box and stood for the rule of law.
On this day of celebration, all Malawians should be proud of their work to end the scourge of HIV/AIDS. While serving in the Senate, I worked closely with Sen. Frist and Sen. Helms on the bipartisan legislation that became the foundation for PEPFAR. Back then, AIDS was a looming death sentence for the entire African continent. What I saw on my most recent trip to Sub-Saharan Africa would never have seemed possible.
Today, we all hold up Malawi as a model and a leader in this fight. Malawi has saved thousands of men, women, and children from HIV infection with the help of antiretroviral drugs. You are on the front lines of a critical mission: creating an AIDS-free generation.
On this proud occasion, I wish all Malawians a happy National Day.