Well, it is such a pleasure to be back here in Yerevan. And I want thank all of you for your hard work and commitment. This is a special year as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of U.S.-Armenian relations. And I saw the posters on the wall as I turned into the compound.
In the early days, 20 years ago, there were only six American officers here. They ran the Embassy out of a hotel. When the charge needed to send a cable, he’d open his hotel room window and hold an antenna outside – (laughter) – until he got a good satellite connection. So I think we’re making progress, don’t you?
I really appreciate the ambassador’s efforts Tweeting about what happens here. (Laughter.) And I think it’s fair to say that what you’re doing every single day is helping us – (laughter) – build an even stronger and deeper relationship between our two countries.
I’d also note that you started interviewing Iranian student visa applicants, something this embassy is uniquely positioned to do. We have been, from the very beginning, saying that we wanted better relations with the people of Iran and more student exchanges and other people-to-people contacts, and you are helping us do that.
I’d also like to especially recognize the local staff, who are the backbone of this and every embassy. I am very grateful to all of our Armenian local staffs and thank you for your dedicated service to this important mission.
And I want, finally, to thank the families. I just got to see some very attractive young people and took a picture with them. And I know that many of you are away from your families. I know that in many instances your families are right by your side, helping you every step of the way. But for me, it’s a family that serves. And so I thank all of you for that.
This is an exciting time in the world. It’s unpredictable. There are lots of changes, but I think it’s important for us all to keep working for greater peace, progress, and stability and prosperity in the world, and we’re going to do everything we can to help Armenia continue to develop a vibrant democracy, a strong economy, and better futures for the Armenian people. Thank you very much.