Secretary Clinton's Meeting with Kuala Lumpur Embassy Staff and Their Families

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
November 2, 2010

Well, it is really a great treat to be here. I learned that we haven’t had a Secretary of State at Embassy KL since 1995. So I’m making up for lost time to be here, to thank you for the work that you do every single day. It is a real treat for me to be able to come to Malaysia on behalf of President Obama and our country and know as Paul just said, that we have such a hard-working, dedicated world-class team here at this Embassy.

I want to also thank Paul. I know he’s only been here for about 10 weeks. He and Catherine arrived and then learned that I was coming, which is always a challenge, but I’m so pleased to see him. I worked closely with the ambassador when he was in Washington during the time of my secretary – secretarial beginning, if you will. And I also want to thank Rob Rapson, our DCM, thank you very much (inaudible).

And I know the children have been very patient. (Laughter.) So let me just say that I’m really sorry I couldn’t be here for Halloween. (Laughter.) That would have been fun. But the work we’re doing with Malaysia is among the most important in Asia. We are determined to deepen and broaden our engagement with this country, and I had excellent, productive meetings today starting with a phone call to the prime minister in his hospital room to wish him well and a very speedy recovery, with the foreign minister and the deputy prime minister. We covered a very broad agenda.

And I think we have tremendous opportunities here. But I know when I leave tomorrow, the work to make those opportunities into realities falls to all of you. So I know a lot is expected of you, but we’re going to be doing even more in Malaysia. We have a lot of plans for educational exchanges. We have some very exciting work on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, enhancing trade and investment (inaudible) that will promote closer cooperation.

So I think there will be more an even more fruitful time ahead for our relationship. And I also want to thank those of you who have served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan. I know that one local staff member (inaudible) had volunteered to Baghdad last year and another, (inaudible), is headed to Baghdad shortly. I commend you for your service. I want to extend my congratulations to Shameera Wiest doing the excellent work (inaudible) Afghan refugees (inaudible) coming to Malaysia, and that service earned her a Secretary of State Award for outstanding volunteerism abroad.

And I want to also thank everybody from all of the agencies that are here. I know that from what Paul has told me the chancery is a little crowded because it hasn’t expanded as our work has, but please know that I am very appreciative of our Foreign Service, our Civil Service, our locally engaged staff and all of our governmental colleagues.

It is a thrill for me to be in Malaysia for the first time, my sixth trip to Asia as Secretary of State but my first trip ever to this country. So I’m looking forward to spending more time working with you on the way ahead and returning at some point in the future.

So now, I’m going to go take a picture with the kids. (Laughter.) I think they have really earned a round of applause for being (inaudible). (Applause.)

PRN: 2010/T35-10