The Republic of Kiribati Independence Day

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 11, 2014

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I offer warm wishes to the people of the Republic of Kiribati as you celebrate the anniversary of your nation’s independence on July 12.

The United States welcomes your nation’s first embassy in the United States. Ambassador Baaro is a voice of clarity and conscience on the environment and I look forward to working with her to find lasting solutions to many of the challenges we face as a global community.

One challenge we share is protecting our ocean. The threats of illegal overfishing, growing marine pollution, and acidification all demand effective diplomacy and collective action. That is why I hosted the Our Ocean Conference. I am determined to intensify our focus on oceans diplomacy in tangible ways, and President Tong has been a terrific partner in that effort. I commend the Republic of Kiribati on the decision to ban commercial fishing in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. That is exactly the kind of step we can take to ensure that a health ocean allows us to continue to enjoy its bounty.

This past year, our citizens came together to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Tarawa. As we reflect on our shared history, the United States looks forward to working with you for a future of peace and prosperity that benefits all our citizens.