Today, we celebrate the signing of the US Declaration of Independence, which occurred 235 years ago. This document launched what was then a new experiment in self-government and citizen participation. And while the “Road to Independence” was sometimes a rocky one, the American colonials realised they would have to fight and struggle for the freedoms they desired. As has often been said, “Freedom is not free.”
This year, I’m proud to say that on this American Independence Day, our relationship with Cambodia has never been stronger. This was demonstrated late last year by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s historic visit to Cambodia and by our close collaboration on events noting the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
The United States places a great deal of importance on this relationship, and we look forward to making it even stronger in the years to come.
This year also marks the 50th anniversary of two US government agencies with significant programs in Cambodia: the Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Peace Corps. USAID has various programs designed to assist Cambodia, ranging from health care improvements, to educational opportunities, to rule-of-law capacity building to finding sustainable ways to improve food security.
The Peace Corps, through its more than 80 volunteers, focuses on the teaching of English to young Cambodians as well as working to improve public health in rural areas. Both these agencies are leaving their mark every day, as they strive to improve the lives of all those Cambodians with whom they come into contact.
It’s been a great pleasure for me to serve in Cambodia during these exciting times, and I’m so very pleased to have met so many wonderful Cambodians through my two tours here.
With deep respect for His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni, His Majesty the King’s Father and Her Majesty the King’s Mother, I support the strong friendship between our peoples and look forward to a peaceful, prosperous future together.