Monsieur le Wali,
Monsieur le Hakem,
Monsieur le Maire,
Messieurs les Représentants de la population de Chinguetti,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like first to thank you for your warm welcome, which demonstrates the great hospitality that the Mauritanian people have given my wife and I since my arrival to this beautiful country. My wife and myself, and my colleagues from the U.S. Embassy are pleased to be here with you today.
Words cannot express the joy I feel coming here to Chinguetti to receive this high distinction, as an honorary citizen of this beautiful and prestigious city with a long and important history for both Mauritania and the regions of North and West Africa. In fact, Chinguetti is famous throughout the entire world as a city of cultural heritage for all mankind.
Founded in the third century, the city of Chinguetti has been a great human, economic, religious, and cultural crossroads throughout the 15th and 17th centuries. During this long period, it has also been a focal point for all forms of exchange between North and South, East and West. This resulted in a symbiosis between the different cultures of the region, thus promoting the exchange of experiences between these peoples in a climate of peace, tolerance and mutual respect.
I would like to seize this opportunity to salute your courage and the continuous work that you are doing for this city, sometimes in difficult environmental conditions.
My wife and I attended the Ancient Cities Festival which took place here in Chinguetti in January and I would like to congratulate you for your success in organizing such a great event. During my stay here, the Mayor showed me a vegetable cooperative outside of the city. The project’s main objective was to assist the Harratine community living in Chinguetti and thus supporting the Mauritanian government’s policy to eradicate the vestiges of slavery. Once again, Chinguetti is setting a good example for the country and the region to follow.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I consider this honor that you have just bestowed on me as an expression of sincere friendship and solidarity.
This high distinction, making me an honorary citizen of the city of Chinguetti, is a positive step in the excellent relations between our two peoples.
Shakrinekom Hata, Ane Verhane.