Thank you for that warm welcome.
First Deputy Minister Terteryan, First Deputy Minister Tonoyan, Deputy Minister Baghdasaryan, and distinguished guests, it is an honor to join you here this afternoon to celebrate the completion of not just one, but three renovation projects by the Kansas National Guard. The first is the renovation of the Operations Center right here at the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations. In addition, the Kansas National Guard engineers have renovated a delivery ward at Ashtarak hospital as well as a common area and shower facility at Yerevan Elderly House #1. I had the opportunity to visit both of the latter sites last Friday and was able to witness first-hand how the hard work and dedication of our engineers has positively impacted the lives of the people who benefit from those institutions. The three projects undertaken by the Kansas National Guard this year, while very different in nature, are symbolic of the vibrant and robust partnership between Armenia, the state of Kansas, and the U.S. Army European Command.
Armenia first established a bilateral affairs agreement with the State of Kansas in 2003, and today, twelve years later, the Kansas-Armenia State Partnership continues to foster strong relations between our two nations. In 2014, the Kansas National Guard, with financial assistance from the U.S. Army European Command, launched their first Humanitarian Civic Assistance projects in Armenia, and since then a total of five projects have been completed: the three I mentioned just a few moments ago, as well as the Darbas School and Darbas Clinic, both of which were renovated last year.
While these projects are individually small, together they represent the United States’ goal of working with Armenian partners to help improve the quality of life for all Armenians. These projects are only possible because of our close coordination with and support from the Government of Armenia. Specifically, I would first like to thank the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the Government of Aragatsotn Marz, the Ministry of Defense, and the other critical offices within the Armenian government which helped to coordinate these projects. Second, I would like to thank and commend the 43 soldiers and airmen of the Kansas National Guard, who flew more than 9,200 kilometers to be here and have spent the last two weeks engaged in the renovation projects. What they have accomplished these past two weeks will have a lasting legacy.
As the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, I am very proud of these programs and the robust partnership that has been established between the State of Kansas and the Government of Armenia. The U.S. government values its friendship with Armenia, and as Armenia’s friend, it is our goal to work with our Armenian partners to improve the lives of the Armenian people and assist this historic nation achieve the secure, peaceful, and prosperous future its people deserve.
Thank you again.