Remarks for Independence Day Reception

Ambassador Jonathan Henick
May 19, 2023

Welcome! Thank you for joining us today! In particular, I want to welcome our guest of honor His Excellency Abdulla Aripov, Prime-Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan. We are proud to have been one of the first countries to recognize Uzbekistan’s independence and after more than 30 years, I can confidently say that our relationship has never been stronger than it is today.

Today we celebrate – a few weeks early – the anniversary of the United States’ independence. Our theme is the American State Fair. State Fairs are held all across the United States. They are a chance for states to show off their crops, local dishes, and their histories. We have hay bales, tractors, and games to help celebrate that theme. Additionally, we are delighted to introduce the talented Pipeline Vocal Project, an a cappella group from the state of Alaska. These women are supporting our campaign “Women Empowered – Uzbekistan Strong (WE-US),” which underscores both our countries’ efforts to support gender equity laws. Also, I would like to thank the Military Band of the National Guard of Uzbekistan for their readiness to perform at today’s event.

In 1776 the United States issued its Declaration of Independence and introduced many of the principles that continue to underpin democracies around the world today. Why did democratic ideas endure and spread? Because they reflect a universal human desire for freedom, equality, and justice. President Abraham Lincoln later summarized these concepts as: “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” In democracies, governments should be chosen through a democratic process, they should be accountable, and they should serve the needs of their citizens. Simple to say, but so difficult to put into practice. After almost 250 years, U.S. democracy remains flawed; we struggle to overcome new challenges; and we continue to try to perfect our Union. After only a little more than 30 years of independence, Uzbekistan, too, is making notable progress in strengthening its own democratic institutions. And the United States is committed to partnering with its government, civil society, media, and people to further advance those reforms. For in the long run, democracy is the best guarantee of Uzbekistan’s sovereignty, independence, security, and prosperity. Recent events have demonstrated that we cannot take such things for granted. President Putin’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty is a reminder that even as we strengthen our democracies at home, together with our democratic partners abroad we must also stand up against dictatorship, repression, and brutality. Here in Uzbekistan we are proud to be working alongside Uzbekistan’s friends and partners – many also represented here today – not only to secure peace and promote prosperity, not only to improve health and education, but also to advance freedom, equality, and justice for all citizens of this country.

Thank you for joining us today! God bless America! Slava Ukraïni! Glory to Uzbekistan!