On behalf of the people of the United States, I would like to extend heartfelt congratulations to the people of Albania on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of your country's independence. At this historic milestone, Albania -- already a close ally -- stands poised to further consolidate its democracy, grow its economy, and to continue the reforms necessary to take its rightful place in Europe.
The strong ties between the United States and Albanian date from Albania's first years of independence. They were restored and reinvigorated as Albania emerged from communism and committed itself to building a modern, democratic state, firmly anchored in the Euro-Atlantic community. The partnership between our countries has been strengthened by the close connection between our peoples, and American society has been enriched by the contributions of generations of Albanian-Americans. As Secretary Clinton said in her historic remarks before the Albanian parliament, the United States stood with the people of Albania for the first 100 years of their country's independence and will stand with you for the next hundred years, and the hundred years that follow. On this important occasion, we join you in celebrating your country's bright future.