Flag Raising Ceremony to Commemorate Opening of U.S. Embassy Tashkent 25 Years Ago
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Embassy Old Chancery in Chilanzar, Tashkent
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It’s great to see all of you here to commemorate the recreation of our raising of the U.S. flag on this property 25 years ago today.
Over the last several months, we have marked 25 years of U.S.-Uzbekistan diplomatic relations in many ways and this morning we are here to focus on this compound and what it means to us.
It is particularly fitting to welcome those of you who represent the institutions that have seen our relationship through during the past 25 years.
Thank you especially to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Your support at every level, especially the Americas desk, both today and in the past, has been essential and appreciated.
You facilitated the visit of Secretary of State James Baker a little over twenty-five years ago, when he met with the late first president, Islam Abduganievich Karimov, to launch the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries.
Minister Kamilov’s personal attention to our bilateral relationship from the early days is very special and we thank him and past ministers for their commitment and the support.
With diplomatic relations came the need for a diplomatic representation both for Uzbekistan in U.S.A. and for us here in Uzbekistan. In the U.S.A., the Government of Uzbekistan found a chancery by acquiring the lovely and well-located building that had been the Canadian embassy.
Here in Tashkent, many people helped us purchase this building and its surrounding land in the heart of Tashkent’s Chilanzar district.
We recently had a visit from the diplomat who signed the official papers and he fondly remembers making the agreement about this property. We worked not only with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but with other officials, too.
And on that note, I would also like to welcome the Hakimiyat. As you well know, this land and building were originally slated for use by the local government, but it was provided to the United States to host the first U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan and for that we are very appreciative.
However, an Embassy is just a building without the people who dedicate themselves to its mission. So, it’s wonderful to see my embassy colleagues – American and local staff – here to mark this important date.
Today we also mark the legacies of the five U.S. senior diplomats who led our mission in this building, including Consul General Mike Mozur and Ambassadors Henry Clarke, Stanley Escadero, Joseph Presl, John Herbst and Jon Purnell.
Our attention on people also includes our local staff. So, I would note that three of our locally-engaged staff members have been with the Embassy for over 20 years. They have been with us on our shared journey and I would like to have them raise their hands. You have been here from the start. One of our local colleagues has served 25 years. Thank you very much, and can we give them a round of applause for their commitment.
Thank you. And finally, we welcome the alumni of Embassy exchange programs and representatives of civil society such as the Seattle-Tashkent Sister Cities Organization.
An embassy exists to strengthen and facilitate ties with the host nation and cultural and educational exchange programs are two powerful ways that we do just that.
Twenty-five years ago today, Chargé Mozur along with guests from the Government of Uzbekistan oversaw a flag raising on this territory opening the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent and marking the United States commitment to a relationship with Uzbekistan built on mutual interests and mutual respect.
In 2006, we moved to our new location, but our fond memories and our hopes for the future about every part of this property remain.
In 25 years of diplomatic relations we have built a comprehensive relationship. We’ve worked together through many changes and our cooperation keeps growing.
At the beginning of February of this year, several U.S. companies signed memoranda of agreement during the meetings of the American Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce. Thus, we are showing our interest in the economic potential of this beautiful country.
In February of this year, letters exchanged between our two presidents signaled the desire on both sides to strengthen future engagement.
At the end of last month, State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Daniel Rosenblum visited to reaffirm our strong support for bilateral ties.
Earlier, I acknowledged Major General Boyles. He is here today to mark the continuation of our very successful state partnership with the Mississippi National Guard.
Security cooperation is a vital pillar of our bilateral ties. The state partnership strengthens that cooperation.
So today, working together with the Government of Uzbekistan, we still reach for new fields of joint activity that focus on today’s needs and anticipate tomorrow’s opportunities.
And as we prepare for the flag raising, I would like to ask the Deputy Prime Minister to come and stand here with me.
As we look to another 25 years and beyond, let’s reflect on how far we have come and how far we want to go, by watching as we commemorate our ties with the raising of the flag as we did at the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent on March 16, 1992.