On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of the Republic of Kazakhstan as you celebrate your independence on December 16.
The United States was honored to be the first nation to recognize an independent Kazakhstan and welcome you into the community of nations 19 years ago. Recently, I witnessed the great progress Kazakhstan has made during my visit to Astana for the first summit of the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe in 11 years. Chairing the OSCE and hosting this summit are important milestones in Kazakhstan's ongoing development as a regional and world leader.
Kazakhstan has accomplished a great deal since independence. Our people have worked together to improve economic ties, chart a responsible and reliable energy future, ensure regional security, and reduce the threat of nuclear weapons. The United States also is proud to work with Kazakh civil society and private sector leaders as well as government officials to improve human rights and help build a more stable, secure, democratic, and prosperous world for all our citizens. The strategic partnership between our nations will continue to grow and deepen as we work together to fulfill the promise of a bright future for Kazakhstan and its people.
I wish the people of Kazakhstan a safe and happy Independence Day celebration.