The Embassy of the United States of America celebrated the country’s 245th Independence Day in a joyous soiree yesterday at the Indera Samudra Hall of The Empire Brunei, carrying the theme “The Great American West”.
In her welcoming remarks, Charge d’Affaires Emily M Fleckner highlighted the longstanding ties between the United States and Brunei since the signing of the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Commerce and Navigation in 1850, a treaty that is still in effect today.
“When Brunei gained its own independence, the United States was among the first countries to recognise this nation and establish an embassy here. Tonight, we celebrate our nation’s birthday and our long friendship with Brunei,” she said.
Fleckner was also hopeful with the United States’ lead in fighting against the COVID-19 around the world even as life back home is returning to normal under a successful vaccination campaign.
The United States, she added, has reopened its doors to Bruneian university students and hopes to resume the full range of exchange programmes that have accommodated Bruneians to the United States, creating people-to-people connections between the two countries.
“When travel reopens in full, Bruneians will enjoy the benefits of the Visa Waiver programme that enables visa-free travel to the United States for tourism and business. As you may know, Brunei is one of only two countries in the region qualified to participate in the programme,” she added.
Touching on continuous defence partnership, the Charge d’Affaires said that it is a working cooperation that never faltered, even at the height of the pandemic.
“Our shared vigilance makes the entire region safer and I look forward to seeing even more members of our U.S Armed Forces working shoulder to shoulder with members of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces in the coming months,” she said.
For climate change, she highlighted that the United States is leading a global push to reduce emissions and drive clean energy innovation to solve our most pressing long-term crisis.
She also reiterated President Joe Biden’s administration that the country is committed to a values-based foreign policy that prioritises empowering women, ethnic minorities, religious minorities and other marginalised people around the world.
“As President Biden has noted, we have always been a forward-looking nation, one still striving toward a more perfect union,” said Fleckner.
She added: “Five years from now, we will be celebrating the 25oth anniversary of the United States’ independence. Today we begin the celebration with our partners at the America250 Foundation and invite all Americans, as well as our friends from abroad, to help honour our past and shape our future.”
After the speech, the Charge d’Affaires presented a glass replica of the saguaro cactus, an emblem of the American West and a symbol of wisdom and endurance to Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dato Seri Setia Haji Abdul Mokti Haji Mohd Daud, as a token of appreciation.
The reception was attended by Brunei government officials, members of the diplomatic community, business executives, US exchange programme alumni and other invited guests.
The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN