Secretary Clinton's Meeting with Phnom Penh Embassy Staff and Their Families

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Phnom Pehn, Cambodia
November 1, 2010

I am so happy to be here in this absolutely beautiful chancery. I am thrilled to see with my own eyes how well this turned out. And it is a great privilege for me to be able to come here to thank all of you for everything you do every single day to broaden and deepen and strengthen the relationship between the United States and Cambodia. As the Ambassador just said, this is my first trip to Cambodia, and it is my sixth trip to Asia as your Secretary of State. And I am very committed to doing all that I can to work on the relationship between our two countries and to do everything we can together to give the Cambodian people a better future.

I want to thank you for so many things. And I particularly want to start by recognizing the contributions of our locally engaged staff. Each of you has made a real difference in our work here in Cambodia. And this Embassy has grown to more than 700 employees representing over 12 government agencies. And I really thank the Ambassador and DCM Allegra for your leadership and for nurturing this relationship over the last two years.

Let me thank you for what you do. Whether it is building health systems; working to curb HIV/AIDS; helping Cambodian NGOs like the one I visited yesterday to fight human trafficking and narcotics; working to improve our cooperation against terrorism; helping to give more young people here a chance at a better education, and particularly to learn English. I don’t know if there are any Peace Corps volunteers. (Applause.) We’re so pleased you’re back in Cambodia.

I also am grateful for the work you’re doing to help bring to justice those who violated the human rights and took so many lives of Cambodians. And I want to thank you for supporting this effort to bring perpetrators to justice. I also am pleased that you’re committed as I am to helping support the cultural and historic preservation of Cambodia. I saw some of that yesterday.

Thank you for the long days that you put in. And I know when someone like me shows up, they’re even longer days, but I am grateful to you for that. I also know that sometimes the monsoon flooding can keep you trapped for hours. But being the innovators that you are, you have established, I am reliably told, a makeshift happy hour at the Marine House – (laughter) – to pass the time. And I thank the Marines for taking in all of you. We’re going to be approaching the American holiday season soon, and I know that for those of you who are here without your families, that makes it challenging. But please know that back home, we appreciate what you do. I am so proud to be your Secretary of State to represent our country as I travel around the world to come to a place like Cambodia where we have so much room for growing this relationship. And I know that no matter how many days and weeks I travel, the real work is done right here on the ground.

So to our Foreign Service officers, our civil servants, to colleagues from those 12 other U.S. Government agencies, to our military who are stationed here, and of course, to the Peace Corps, thank you for the sacrifices that you are making. Thank you for the contributions that you are making every single day.

We are very, very grateful, and I am someone who knows that without you, we would not be making the progress that we’re making in our relationship. I want now to have a chance to shake some of the hands that are here, and I particularly thank you for bringing the children who are here, because I think the work we do every day is about their future, so for me, it’s a special treat to be able to say hello to them.

Now, when I leave, you have earned a wheels-up party. (Laughter.) (Applause.)

PRN: 2010/T35-9