Fourth of July Remarks by Ambassador Allan Mustard

U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan Allan Mustard delivers remarks at the Fourth of July reception (Photo: U.S. Embassy Ashgabat)

Salam! Hoş geldiňiz, gadyrly dostlar! (Hello and welcome dear friends!)

Your Excellency Chair of the Parliament Nurberdiyeva, esteemed guests, ladies and gentlemen, good evening! Welcome to our annual Fourth of July celebration, which this year marks the 239th Independence Day of the United States.

Thank you for coming. Thank you, as well, to Esteemed President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for his continued support for the growing bilateral relationship between the United States and Turkmenistan. Of course, I thank our sponsors; without their generous support today’s celebration of American independence would be impossible.

It is truly an honor to be here with you all today to share in the celebration of what I consider to be the most important holiday in the United States – a day that changed the course of human history.

239 years ago, the founders of the United States came together and formed a new nation grounded in a revolutionary idea – the belief that all people are created equal; that we are free to govern ourselves; that each of us is entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They formed a government of, by, and for the people – an improbable experiment in democracy that has flourished and spread across much of the world despite extraordinary obstacles.

Every year, we gather with friends and family to celebrate this accomplishment and the values that inspired the founders of our nation more than two centuries ago. But we recognize that these values are not unique to Americans. They are embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the constitutions of many nations around the world.

Therefore, today we celebrate not only the independence of the United States, but also our common humanity. Today, we remember the principles, values, and visions that we share. Despite our differences, the United States and Turkmenistan can and should have frank discussions about our disagreements, and work together to overcome them. Let’s embrace this celebration as an opportunity to form new connections, exchange ideas, and find fresh solutions to our shared challenges, and reaffirm our commitment to advancing universal human rights.

After all, the United States and Turkmenistan share many common interests. Some of these include supporting Turkmenistan’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. We both envision a prosperous Turkmenistan economically integrated with the region and the world that can be an increasingly attractive place for American companies to do business. We also have a shared interest in developing Turkmenistan’s human capital, so that all of its people can receive the best education possible and contribute their talents to the future of the country. I consider these interests to be the cornerstone of our bilateral relationship.

Our countries also share numerous cultural and geographic characteristics. For instance, the American cowboy culture has much in common with the Turkmen horse culture, and the landscapes of the American Southwest have a striking resemblance to the awe-inspiring lands of Turkmenistan.

In that vein, as you enjoy a sampling of Southwestern cuisine tonight, I encourage you to view the displays throughout this banquet hall. I think you’ll discover many fascinating commonalities that our nations should be proud of.

Also on display are several handwoven Native American carpets that, I think you’ll agree, are surprisingly similar to Turkmen carpets. Ms. Nurberdiyeva, you get to keep one as a souvenir.

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I wish you all a very happy Fourth of July.

Garaşsyzlyk günüňiz gutly bolsun! Sag boluň!