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Ambassador Abraham’s Independence Day Celebration Remarks
June 28, 2023


(As delivered)

Good evening, everybody. Are you guys awake? Good evening, everybody. All right, that’s more like it.

I’m very glad to see everybody out there. Good evening. Happy Fourth of July. We’re so grateful that you are here to celebrate this very important day with us. Let me just begin by echoing Ambassador Kim’s welcome to coordinating Minister Luhut and Deputy Secretary General Tene. We appreciate your partnership and collaboration.

Let me also say a warm hello to all other, my other colleagues from the ASEAN Secretariat, members of the committee of permanent representatives, ambassadors to ASEAN and also to Indonesia who are in the crowd, other ministers and distinguished diplomats. We’re very grateful for your presence here tonight. Thank you for your partnership, and for joining us as we celebrate the 247th birthday of the United States of America.

I’m thrilled to be here tonight in, for, my first Independence Day in Indonesia, as U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN, and to share with you the pride that I have not only for my country, but for the enduring relationship between the United States and ASEAN, including this year as chair and our country coordinator, Indonesia. Under Indonesia’s leadership, we are pursuing growth and prosperity for all of our people, while promoting ASEAN centrality and its critical role in the regional architecture.

All of us here today can and will address the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century from climate change and health security to the economy as well as support a free and open Indo Pacific, the rule of law and a rules based regional and global architecture. That stands up for the principles of sovereignty, integrity, territorial integrity for all nations. This past year has been a very positive and busy one for us as the U.S. – ASEAN relationship. Visitors to the region have included President Biden, Vice president Harris, nearly half the Cabinet including Secretary Blinken, Secretary Austin, and Secretary Yellen – that’s our secretary of state, or secretary of defense, and our secretary of treasury, as well as dozens of members of Congress.

We’re particularly pleased and grateful to be able to have elevated our already long standing relationship with ASEAN to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership last year. Ambassador Kim mentioned a handful of the important and meaningful ways that the United States works closely with Indonesia to advance our partnership. And just to add on to those important words, while the details may be different, I can tell you that there’s a similar story can be told with other ASEAN member states and we’re very grateful for the opportunity to work with them as well.

I particularly want to echo what Ambassador Kim mentioned, about the critical importance of our people to people ties, both those between the U.S. and Indonesia and those across the region. And indeed, one of the best parts of my job as U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN is the ability to deal to spend time with the young leaders across the region through our Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative.

Now, I know that everyone is eager to have some food, beverages, listen to some music. I know some of you, you’re eyeing the stage you think you might get up on stage and do some singing yourself. We’ll see what we can do about that. I know there’s some singers in the crowd, certainly amongst the diplomatic corps. I know there’s some singers in the crowd. So let me just conclude by saying this. I want to return to Ambassador Kim because, it’s, as most of you know, while it’s my first Independence Day in Indonesia as ambassador to ASEAN, it’s Ambassador Kim’s last Independence Day in Jakarta as ambassador to Indonesia. And I want to give him a special round of applause for his tremendous service.

His tremendous service in furthering the U.S. – Indonesia relationship, his tremendous service to our country, and on a personal note, I am deeply, deeply grateful for his tremendous friendship. The only thing I don’t like about working with Ambassador Kim is he’s taller than me. So every time I talk after him, I have to move the mic down a little bit. But Ambassador Kim, thank you for everything you’ve done for our country.

Thank you, everyone. Enjoy the evening. Have a great evening.