I am really pleased to be here. As the new American Ambassador, I hope we can continue to promote the goals that will help you expand your democratic space, diversify your economy and increase the economic, health, and educational opportunities for all of your citizens.
I hope the U.S. Embassy’s programs in EG will demonstrate the importance I place on these goals. We will continue to be engaged in outreach to the youth of the country, providing opportunities for exchange programs in the U.S. The youth of any country represent the future, and ensuring they are able to fully participate in the development of the country. Only through education can they help move the country forward into the development of your democracy.
Democracy is more than what occurs on an election day.
As this is an election year in both the U.S. and in EG, I want to say that the government and people of EG have an opportunity now to further the democratization of your country in your upcoming elections. You have the opportunity to craft a positive legacy and enhance your international image by laying the true foundations of democracy, which includes an open and vibrant atmosphere where those in the Government and those in opposition have the opportunity to enjoy full political freedoms.
The U.S. is also developing its democracy. The process is a long one everywhere and there is not one set path. We must all remain flexible to respond to new developments. When the U.S. falls short in living up to our own democratic ideas, we turn to our legal system, based on the rule of law, to provide justice. Citizens and civil society groups are able to call on political leaders to bring about positive change. And our media have always been there to report the news, whether it is good or bad.
I would like to see Equatorial Guinea establish a fully independent electoral commission representative of the range of political views. This would assure citizens of all political persuasions that they do and will benefit from all of the guarantees of freedom of movement, assembly, and speech that are enshrined in your constitution.
Of course, my highest priority is ensuring that U.S. citizens and U.S. businesses in Equatorial Guinea are safe and secure and accorded all legal rights that are appropriate.
Our security and prosperity and inextricably linked with those of other countries and people around the world. I hope that working together we can improve the security for both the United States and Equatorial Guinea, strengthen cooperation, and promote democratic values and human rights.
I also hope to spend more time getting to know your beautiful country, people and traditions.
It is great to get to meet you!