Remarks at Salman Mosque

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Salman Mosque
Djibouti, Djibouti
May 6, 2015

Assalamu alaikum. (In French.) I said I would speak in English because there are part of the English-speaking program – some of them. Some of these young people who are here are part of the YALI program. I’ll say more about that in a minute.

Let me begin by thanking Minister Youssouf. Thank you so much for your welcome. Minister Aden, thank you for your welcome. Imam Maalim, thank you very much for bringing us into this holy place and for allowing us to have this meeting here. And thank you, Minister Aden, for your message about Islam and about tolerance and love, because that’s what the world needs. And it’s a privilege for me to be able to come here to Djibouti in the first visit, I think, by a Secretary of State, and I’m very honored to be here. Ambassador Kelly, thank you for your job and for helping to welcome so many people here in these last days, and difficultly.

Let me just say – I want to speak to the young people here for a minute if I can. First of all, I really appreciate your taking time to come here. It’s enormously welcoming to me. And more importantly, it’s really a statement about your commitment to your country and to the future. Several of you are YALI members – Young African Leaders Initiative – which is a program that President Obama started in order to bring people who are already demonstrating great leadership and scholarship and interest in civic affairs, and to come to Washington. Last year we had an incredibly exciting meeting; you were there, and I met – you were there too. We had a wonderful, energetic meeting. The President met. And all of you come back and engage in your community in the most wonderful way. You are, all of you, going to be the future leaders, whether it’s political or in business or in the community, and that’s exactly what YALI is supposed to do: help people to see the possibilities of building the future.

Djibouti is making a very significant contribution to the alternative paths of being engaged, of helping to provide security. Your president is involved in helping to quiet things in Somalia, helping to push back against extremism, and to provide economic opportunity for the people of this country.

So I’m really happy to be here. I don’t want to make a long speech. I’d really rather hear from you, if we have a moment. But it’s a privilege to meet with the future leaders. And we’re impressed by your English; whoever’s teaching you is doing a very, very good job. And I’m really grateful to you for taking a moment to come and share some thoughts with me this morning.

(In French.) And I look forward over the day today to learning more about Djibouti and to strengthening the relationship between our countries. God bless.