Chargée d’Affaires, a.i. Natasha Franceschi’s Independence Day Remarks
Distinguished Ministers, Members of Parliament, friends from the diplomatic corps, esteemed guests, colleagues, and my fellow Americans.
Aslema, bonsoir, and good evening
Thank you all for joining us this evening in celebration of the 246th birthday of the United States of America. I am truly honored to welcome you tonight on behalf of my American, Tunisian and Libyan colleagues of the United States Mission.
We are very pleased to welcome our guest of honor tonight, the Minister of Finance Sihem Boughdiri Nemsia, as well as other honorable members of the Government of Tunisia that are here with us this evening.
National Days are an importance annual tradition around the world because these events give us the opportunity to pause and reflect on our relationship and to reconfirm the values that we share.
America’s 246th Independence Day commemorates the ratification of the Declaration of Independence of the United States in 1776. The ideals of freedom, of equality, and of justice expressed in the Declaration of Independence influenced social change movements around the world. These tenets continue to define us as a nation and they remain a guiding principle in forming our alliances and partnerships.
That is why the United States has been proud to support Tunisia in its transition to democracy. Since 2011, we have committed close to $2 billion to support the aspirations of the Tunisian people for a democratic, prosperous, and secure Tunisia that provides opportunities for all of its citizens.
Since arriving to Tunisia in November 2021, I have had the great pleasure of traveling around this beautiful country to see first-hand the partnerships that the embassy has built to help launch small businesses. And our assistance programs across Tunisia are creating thousands of jobs and generating economic growth across the country. Some of my most memorable interactions have been with entrepreneurs who are fueled not just by a desire for personal success but for a more prosperous future for their communities as well as for their country.
We are extremely proud that the United States is now the number one export destination for Tunisian handicrafts. We are also working with the tourism sector to highlight Tunisia’s rich natural, cultural, and historical heritage to contribute to the rebuilding of Tunisia’s tourism sector.
The United States is proud to be the largest donor of COVID-19 donor of vaccines, to Tunisia, with more than 2.8 million doses provided since July 2021.And we are also committed to helping the Tunisian people cope with the economic effects of Russia’s unprovoked war on Ukraine.
Tunisia is also an important partner for U.S. diplomacy in the Middle East and North Africa – and there is no better example of this than the support that Tunisia provides for U.S. diplomatic relations with Libya. Ambassador Richard Norland and his team operate from this very compound. I want to use this occasion to thank our Tunisian hosts for this important partnership.
As we celebrate the independence of the United States, we reflect on more than 200 years of friendship and partnership with Tunisia, which was among the first states to recognize the United States in 1796. Democracy is not easy, but as one of our Founding Fathers Thomas Paine said, “Those who wish to reap the blessings of liberty must undergo the fatigues of supporting it.”
As I conclude, I also want to offer my appreciation to all of our generous sponsors for making our first Independence Day in two years so special.
I also close by thanking each of you for honoring us with your presence as we mark the 246th anniversary of the United States’ independence.
And now it is my honor and my pleasure to turn over the podium to Her Excellency the Minister of Finance for her remarks.
Madame Minister, I invite you…