Ambassador Atul Keshap’s Remarks at Maldives Iftar Event

It is a real honor for me to welcome all of you tonight to the United States Embassy’s Iftar gathering.  It is particularly an honor for me to see all of the fellow Ambassadors and Ministers, leaders of political parties, Honorable Mr. Secretary, leaders from civil society, people from all walks of life, friends of the American Embassy, all of you.  Welcome.  Assalamu alaikum to everybody.

Ladies and gentlemen, I wish you from the bottom of my heart, Ramadan Mubarik.  It’s a delight to have you all here.  I feel so privileged to be here in Malé not only with you, but with so many of my colleagues, women and men, from the American Embassy in Colombo.  We are here with you today not just in spirit, but in body, and it is a marvelous moment for us to share this holy month of Ramadan with you.  A month of reflection and devotion, serving one another, lifting up the less fortunate, and peace and charity.  For all of us who are in this room, and all of us who could not be here today, it is still a time for unification, for companionship and fellowship, a time for coming together, a time for understanding and peace.

Ladies and gentlemen, millions of Muslim Americans enrich our country every day through their respect for the universal values of peace and charity, and their engagement in America’s political, military, business, scientific, and cultural affairs.  Muslim Americans across the United States are also fasting during this holy month and gathering this evening to share meals with family and friends.  I am delighted to celebrate Ramadan with all of you.

The United States is proud to continue to support Maldivian efforts to strengthen civil society, transparency, and basic freedoms, including freedom of expression.  Our country places a high priority on peace, prosperity and freedom across the Indo Pacific region.

We are working in partnership with your government, whether it’s with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of the Environment, or any of a number of other ministries to try to improve the daily lives of Maldivians and to help your country achieve a more peaceful, prosperous, and happy nation.

We are working on building a desalination and rainwater system to provide nearly 5,000 island residents of Hinnavaru access to safe drinking water.

We’re also working on the management of coral reef ecosystems, and we work very closely with government and civil society partners to strengthen our people-to-people partnership.

Earlier today I was privileged to open the new American Center in Malé, which will provide employment and leadership skills for young people, promote English language learning, and foster goodwill.

Ladies and gentlemen, I told the President that we are working on all of this because we believe in a future vision of Maldives that is peaceful, prosperous, stable, and democratic, with human rights for all.  I told him that we are passionately committed to this vision.

I want to thank all of you for coming tonight.  I’m mindful that we need to break the fast on time, and I want to thank you again for coming.