Secretary Clinton Meets with Embassy Staff

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Toussaint Louverture International Airport
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
January 30, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: It's wonderful to see you all, and I want to start by thanking you. I know that just over one year ago many of you were here in the middle of organizing emergency relief, operations, conducting a very large evacuation. We may have passed the immediate emergency phase, but now we're in the middle of a long-term reconstruction effort on behalf of the Haitian people. And I am so grateful to all of you for everything you have done, for the leadership you have shown. I’ve thanked you before. I’ve thanked you through the ceremonies that we’ve held at the State Department. I know that many of you had grave concerns about your own families, about friends and others, and you did not know what the outcome of this terrible natural disaster would be, and you kept on working and showed the highest level of service to the people of Haiti. And I am grateful.

And then you’ve continued to work. We know there is so much to be done. We have an enormous task still ahead of us. But you have run programs that have provided short-term employment to more than 350 Haitians. You’ve not only worked to rebuild your own homes and families, but provided safe housing to more than 200,000 displaced Haitians. And I know that your work doesn't end when the official hours are over. Many of you keep working on so many efforts, volunteering with church groups or community groups, helping to rebuild a local school and so much more.

I want you to know that both President Obama and I are well aware of the commitment that you have shown, and I want you to know that we remain committed to you and committed to Haiti. We have a wonderful team, some of whom have been here the whole time, many of whom are new, of Americans through Foreign Service, Civil Service representatives of all of our government agencies. But the real backbone of this Embassy are the Haitians who work with us, who come to help deepen and broaden the relationship between the United States and Haiti and who are providing invaluable assistance.

I am here today with a very simple message: The United States, our government and our people, will stand with the Haitian people. We want to see the reconstruction continued. We want to see the voices and votes of the Haitian people acknowledged and recognized. We want to see you move forward into a future that really meets the promise that has so often been held out as the potential of Haiti.

So I thank you and I want to shake your hands and thank you personally, but I wanted this to be my first public stop to say thank you and to encourage you to keep working with us, because we’ve made some progress but not nearly enough. And we have a long way to go and it needs to be done right. It needs to be done in a way that keeps faith with the Haitian people and the enormous sacrifice and loss that you have suffered.

So thank you again, and God bless you and God bless Haiti. (Applause.)

PRN: 2011/T39-2