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Public Statements

Meeting With the Embassy Staff and Families


Location: Helsinki, Finland

Thank you for your patience and thank you so much for everything you've done to make this trip both successful and enjoyable. I wanted to come and personally thank you for what you do every single day. I want to begin by thanking the Ambassador and Cody for their leadership, not on just all of the traditional work that an ambassador must do but on the expansion of our relationship with Finland and in particular the emphasis on energy and sustainable development, the Innovation Center, so much that will really demonstrate and point dramatically what we are doing and what we are doing together with Finland. Bruce, you've really taken a relationship that was already strong and pumped it up, and now we're flexing our bilateral (inaudible) unlike any time before. So I'm grateful to you.

But this is really a stellar Embassy team. You've worked to strengthen defense cooperation. You signed an important agreement today on expanding information sharing, particularly of classified information. You're working together with our Finnish partners against terrorism and other common threats. We're expanding our people-to-people ties and we're promoting new trade and economic and investment relationships as well.

Being on the forefront of green diplomacy, to me, is really significant. And I know it's not always easy working on a construction site as all of the work gets done, but this will send a strong message of the American Government's commitment to reducing emissions, operating more efficiently, lowering costs, moving Embassy Helsinki toward LEED platinum status, running the League of Green Embassies out of Helsinki, really setting a model and a lot of best practices.

I also want to say a special word of thanks to our local staff. Secretaries come and go, ambassadors come and go, but really the local staff provide the continuity. They provide the real memory bank about what has been the mission of this Embassy. And I am grateful to you as well.

And it's wonderful to see so many of the young people here who are really a constant reminder of why we do the work we do to try to make the world better for all of you and to give you more opportunities to live up to your own potential in the years ahead.

Thanks so much for everything you've done to make this visit a success. Please know that I speak for our government and our country when I tell you how appreciative we are. Now, usually when I leave, people have a big sigh of relief. (Laughter.) I go on to be somebody else's responsibility. And I understand that the Ambassador is going to have a barbeque tomorrow. (Laughter.) Well, if he wasn't before, he is now. (Laughter.) And it's only a well-deserved tribute to all of you and a celebration that you survived a Secretary of State visit. (Laughter.) Believe me, it's an accomplishment.

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