As Prepared

Thank you High Representative Borrell, Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo and Dr. Synder for your briefings.  I also want to thank Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo for the leadership the United Nations has shown as we battle together against COVID-19 worldwide.

Thank you, Foreign Minister Reinsalu for hosting this event today to both commemorate and to reflect.  I’m delighted to be joined by Ambassador Craft along with my colleagues around the world, even if only virtually.

On May 8, 1945 – V-E Day – American casualties in Europe exceeded half a million, with over 100,000 dead.  Our mutual efforts and sacrifices are a lasting testament to shared commitments to freedom and liberty with countries worldwide, including our allies in Europe.

The horrors of the war gave birth to new global institutions, including the United Nations, which the United States has supported since its very beginning in its goal “to maintain international peace and security.” Our support for this endeavor to build a more peaceful world, based upon the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, will never falter.  As President Trump has said, “We still believe in the noble goals of the UN:  affirming the dignity and worth of the human person and striving for international peace.”

Seventy-five years after the end of WWII in Europe, it is critical that we continuously assess how our institutions are performing against their mandates.  This means both holding member states accountable to our shared commitments, including to the UN and its founding principles, and ensuring that these institutions continue to be trusted and capable of carrying out their core functions and promoting a hopeful vision for the future.

The United States has demonstrated time and again our political will to uphold our commitments to the charter.  Our most insidious enemy today – the novel coronavirus – is an invisible threat, and has demanded from us leadership, unprecedented levels of coordination, and support.  The United States will do its part.

Just this week, Secretary of State Pompeo announced an additional $130 million in health and humanitarian assistance from the United States.  We have now provided over $900 million in life-saving global health, humanitarian, and economic assistance to over 120 countries.  And we are not done.

As important as it is to take affirmative action to advance the noble goal of promoting peace and security worldwide – it is just as important to collectively recall where we may have failed, to learn from those moments, and strive to do better.

In this spirit, we vow never to forget the unique suffering of the Jewish people in the Holocaust, nor the merciless slaughter of so many other innocent civilians by the brutal Nazi regime.

Unfortunately, there are governments that will seek to fit the past into the political aims of the present with new narratives.  As we see authoritarians seek to hide or deflect attention from the truth, or silence those who speak truth to power, it is clear that we must push back against these false narratives.

All of us around this table know too well the price we have paid for the values we hold dear.  Let us therefore honor the sacrifices of the millions during World War II who sacrificed so much.  We owe both a debt of gratitude and an eternal and unwavering conviction to honor the truth and continue to create a world that is rooted in their sacrifices for freedom and peace.  Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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