(July 3, 2018)
Dear Madam President of the Parliament,
Dear Madam Vice President,
Deputy Prime Minister,
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Members of Parliament,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Members of the Military Attaché Corps,
Thank you for joining us this evening.
Ladies and Gentlemen, honored guests, dear friends. Nicole and I welcome you to tonight’s celebration of the 242nd anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America.
This is our 3rd Independence Day reception in Sofia!
I would also like to thank the sponsors supporting this Independence Day celebration.
Nicole and I are especially glad to welcome everyone to our thirtieth wedding anniversary.
2017 and 18 are important anniversary years for Bulgaria and America:
- We mark 115 years of diplomatic relations between our two countries.
- This evening we also celebrate the 25th anniversary of partnership between the Tennessee National Guard and Bulgaria’s Armed Forces.
- 2018 also marks 25 years since the United States Foreign Agricultural Service opened an office in Bulgaria.
- We reached the 25th anniversary of United States Security Assistance with Bulgaria, noting that since 1992 the U.S. Government has invested over $220 million in training and equipping programs for Bulgaria. This year is also the 20th anniversary of the establishment of our Office of Defense Cooperation.
Many other notable events happened since our celebration last year:
- The U.S. Mission unveiled Silata E B Teb, our public relations campaign highlighting the strengths we see in Bulgarians and Bulgaria.
- American company Coca-Cola opened its 2nd largest global IT Center here in Sofia.
- We visited American-owned AES and Contour Global in Galabovo – the largest foreign investments in Bulgaria, both important to Bulgarian energy security.
- The American College of Sofia opened a new Student Center in part with a $1 million dollar grant from USAID and an $8 million grant from the America for Bulgaria Foundation.
- The U.S. Embassy continued major restoration of the Nessebar Basilica, and I look forward to cutting the ribbon with members of the Bulgarian government as we unveil the completed restoration, funded through the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation.
- Major American company Archer Daniels Midland selected Bulgaria as the site to expand their production facility into their largest grain-processing plant in Southeastern Europe.
- The American for Bulgaria Foundation invested more than
$20 million dollars in Bulgaria this year, as they do each year.
- Saber Guardian –2017’s largest NATO military exercise took place in Bulgaria with immense success.
- Bulgaria hosted the EU Council Presidency – and please allow me to offer congratulations on this success, and reiterate our strong support and admiration for the leadership role Bulgaria is playing in achieving Western Balkan integration. The Attorney General of the United States visited Bulgaria this year in connection with an EU Ministerial hosted by Bulgaria’s EU Council Presidency.
These anniversaries, partnerships and accomplishments illustrate the alliance between our countries stretching years behind us and looking ever forward. Our friendship, alliance, and partnership are strong and continue to deepen.
Our relationship is based on shared values and shared objectives. Among these are democracy, rule of law, support for civil society, equality among all citizens, respect for diversity, and tolerance for all. In both of our societies, we must continue the fight against corruption and for open, transparent government that serves all citizens and is responsive to their needs and concerns.
Welcome to America’s National Day celebration, as we embark on yet another extraordinary year of ties and accomplishments!