Celebration of the 240th Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America, Jakarta

Remarks by Ambassador Blake at the Celebration of the 240th Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America, Jakarta

Coordinating Minister Pandjaitan, Coordinating Minister Ramli, Minister Rudiantara, Minister Pudjiastuti, Minister Husin, Minister Lembong, my wonderful fellow Ambassador Nina Hachigian, fellow Americans, friends, welcome to America’s Independence Day celebration!

This year’s theme is “working together in partnership”, a very appropriate one given the wide and growing scope of our partnership between the United States and Indonesia.

Our relations are strong and getting stronger, particularly after what has been a momentous year in our bilateral relations.  Let me thank in particular the two Ministers standing here, both of whom done so much to advance our many endeavors, and without whom we would not be where we are today.

Our two nations share many common values, and we find strength in our diversity, our tolerance and the immense value we both place on the freedoms of democracy.  These values were reinforced this year during President Jokowi’s visit to the United States when we elevated our relations to a strategic partnership.

This year we have boosted our cooperation in the maritime arena, and are working with Indonesia to make President Jokowi’s vision of a maritime fulcrum a reality.

We have strengthened our economic cooperation and we are proud to be pioneering some of the first large scale renewable energy projects across the archipelago.

And we are exploring ways that our partnership can be leveraged to help develop Indonesia’s digital and creative economies which are packed with potential.

This year we also saw President Jokowi announce plans to explore the idea of joining the Trans Pacific Partnership, an initiative that will open new opportunities for both our countries and help to drive the competitiveness of the Indonesian economy that President Jokowi has prioritized.

While the main theme of today’s event is partnership, there is a second theme that we should recognize, that of transition.  Our Independence Day is a symbol of our democracy.

Later this year Americans will once again be selecting our next President as we move towards the general election on November 8th.

Although the rhetoric during the election cycle has sometimes become heated and divisive, let there be no doubt that the vast majority of Americans remain committed to our founding principles of freedom of religion and speech, a respect for diversity, and an embrace of immigrants and visitors from all faiths, backgrounds and ethnicities.

This year sadly will also be one of personal transition for me, Sofia and our family.  In July I will be leaving my post as the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, and will hand the reins of the office to our wonderful Deputy Chief of Mission Brian McFeeters until a new Ambassador is named.

This year’s celebration is particularly meaningful to me as it will also be my last as a representative of the United States Government.

When I leave Indonesia I will begin the process of retiring from the State Department after 30 plus years of service to my country.

Although I may be leaving both my current position and the U.S. government, I can assure you that I will continue to be engaged in any way I can to support the continued growth in people-to-people, business, government and other ties between our two countries.  And I of course look forward to staying in close touch with my many friends here tonight.

Before I conclude, let me express my deep thanks to my terrific staff, many of whom worked for months to make this night’s celebration a reality.

With that I would like to thank you all for joining us and for all that each of you do to help grow and build the dynamic partnership between two of the largest democracies in the world. Have a wonderful evening!