Minister of Islamic Affairs and other members of the Mauritanian government delegation,
Ambassadors and other friends and colleagues
It is a great honor for me to welcome you to my home this evening. It is an especially happy occasion for me since this is the first formal event I am hosting in my capacity as U.S. Ambassador to Mauritania.
Across the United States today, tens of thousands of American Muslims are observing the fast of the blessed month of Ramadan. They share their moments of meditation with their neighbors, classmates, and co-workers. Thank you very much for doing the same with me tonight.
Ramadan offers us the opportunity to reflect on how Mauritania and the United States should continue to draw on each other’s experiences in the field of cultural diversity to further strengthen the foundation of their national unity. By working together for the cause of freedom and mutual understanding, we are creating a brighter future of hope and progress for all of humanity.
Mr. Minister, ladies and gentlemen,
I started by saying that hosting this event was a great pleasure for me, but I must admit I am also a little sad. In the diplomatic life we get used to saying goodbye to close friends and colleagues, but this is never easy. Tonight I want to recognize two absolutely essential members of my team in Nouakchott who are both well known to many of you. Over the next few days both my deputy, Irv Hicks, and my political officer, Ousmane Cisse, will be leaving Nouakchott.
Irv has completed two years and will be next posted in Djibouti as an advisor to the U.S. forces stationed there. After more than three years in Nouakchott, Ousmane will return to work at the State Department in Washington.
In my early months, as I have focused on understanding the fascinating country of Mauritania, I have relied heavily on Irv and Ousmane’s experience here and the decades of experience both have from living and working throughout Africa. So tonight I want to thank both Irv and Ousmane for your friendship, your support and your guidance during our too-brief time together. On behalf of everyone at the U.S. Embassy, and all of your friends gathered here tonight, thank you for your many contributions to building the partnership between the United States and Mauritania.
To conclude ladies and gentlemen,
Many thanks for joining us tonight. I hope this is just the first of many opportunities we will have to get together in this garden. Please enjoy tonight’s dinner. The staff of our embassy join me in wishing you the very best.