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February 2, 2024

Ambassador Yastishock Arrival Speech

February 2, 2024

 

Today, Ambassador-designate Ann Marie Yastishock arrived in Port Moresby to begin her service as U.S. Ambassador to Independent State of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Republic of Vanuatu.

Remarks as written:

 

Good afternoon and thank you for your warm welcome and generous hospitality. I am very excited to be here in service to my country as United States Ambassador to the independent states of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.

 

As President Biden’s representative, my goal is to deepen our impact, broaden our engagement, and build on our activities. That’s what I came to do, and that’s what I hope we will do together.  I can’t wait to get started.

 

My first steps will be to listen and to learn.  Listen to the challenges, learn about people’s hopes and dreams, and work to deliver on promises of mutual prosperity made jointly by all our government leaders at the U.S.-Pacific Island summit at the White House.  It’s all about people, about partnership, about prosperity.  Really it’s about building deeper relationships to find new ways we can work together to solve local and global challenges.

 

We have so many historical and cultural ties with the people of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, and we have so much to learn from one another.  Our ties with Papua New Guinea date back to before WWII when Amelia Earhart stopped in Lae on her attempt to fly around the world in 1937, serving as a role model for women and girls in technology and aviation.  In Solomon Islands, Allied victory at Guadalcanal is a constant reminder that a rules-based international order was paid for by the lives of thousands, including Solomon Islanders, yet secured principles and institutions such as the United Nations, The World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank, that enabled the peace in the Pacific that we have today.  We are building on this shared history as we strengthen our ties in the region.  Our partnership with Papua New Guinea is robust, built on our shared history and shared democratic values.

I am excited that we continue to expand our Embassy in the Solomon Islands and identify ways to engage with the people.  I’m also thrilled that Peace Corps Volunteers will be back in Vanuatu this year and our plan to open a new Embassy there continues.  There’s just so much to look forward to as we strengthen our relationships and partnerships in the region.

 

I can’t wait to get out to the provinces, the islands and the highlands of Papua New Guinea, and to Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.  I look forward to meeting the people in the region and listening to and learning from all I meet.

 

And I’m fortunate that my brother and my son can share this adventure with me.  I know that we are going to meet so many incredible people, travel, and build long lasting friendships.  I’m here to do what it takes to deepen and broaden our engagement.  People, partnership, and prosperity, that’s my mission.

 

Again, thanks for coming out to welcome me, it means a great deal.  I’ll hopefully head to the governor general’s house in the next days to get credentialed so I can officially begin my work.  I’m happy to answer questions, although I just arrived so it will have to be more general for now.