November 18, 2023
Good evening, Michelle and I are excited to welcome everyone here tonight to celebrate the 248th birthday of the United States Marine Corps! As I mentioned last year to some of you, Michelle and I had our first date at the Marine Corps birthday ball back in Stuttgart, Germany – just a few years ago!
I want to begin by recognizing the important contributions of our very own Marine detachment, led by Staff Sergeant Christopher Alsina, to this Embassy, to the United States, and to the growth of the U.S.-Moldovan relationship.
As Secretary Blinken said when he celebrated the Marine Corps anniversary, “the challenges of protecting our diplomatic missions overseas are greater than ever, and we are proud to have you as partners in our diplomacy and security abroad… As we celebrate this 248th anniversary, we honor the Marines who continue to advance U.S. foreign policy interests around the world and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Embassy Chisinau has some of the best Marine Security Guards from around the world, and we are all truly grateful for your commitment to serving our country. I see every day how you hold true to the values of the Marine Corps: honor, courage, and commitment. Thank you all for your service. We could not do all that we do without each of you. We also appreciate your willingness to be a part of our community, most recently hosting the entire community to your house for a very scary Halloween haunted house.
Looking around the room, I think it is fair to say tonight is also an opportunity to celebrate the important and ever-growing partnership between the United States and the Republic of Moldova. Last year I reflected on thirty years of incredible partnership, and I am confident that the past year has only further aligned our values and aspirations. Since Russia began its terrible unprovoked war in Ukraine, the United States has provided more than $774 in assistance to support Moldova’s ambitious political and economic reform program, make progress in combating and overcoming decades of entrenched corruption, and host more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. All of us in this room are working every day toward a more democratic, prosperous, and secure future for both our countries.
And our efforts are paying off. Last year, the European Union made Moldova a candidate country and, just a few weeks ago, the European Commission recommended that accession negotiations begin in the next few months – a decision that we hope EU member nations will confirm next month. Moldova is on the front lines of the free world and is standing up for the democratic values that we all cherish. It is clear that Moldova’s future is in Europe, and the United States is committed to doing everything we can to make that future a reality.
I am honored to have here with us tonight Speaker of Parliament Igor Grosu, and his wife Inga Grosu. Speaker Grosu visited Washington this past summer to further strengthen the vibrant parliamentary relationship between our countries that has put so much momentum behind our deepening relationship. And I’m delighted to welcome to our celebration again this year Minister of Defense Anatolie Nosatii and his wife Ala. This year we celebrated quite a few firsts in U.S.-Moldovan security cooperation, including the joint airborne exercise in Marculesti last month.
Please, raise your glasses and join me in a toast. To the brave individuals in uniform who fight to make our world a better place, especially to our brave Marines, thank you for all that you do. Semper Fi and happy birthday! Thank you.