Venue: U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, Dar es Salaam
October 8, 2006
Remarks by Ambassador Michael L. Retzer
Waheshimiwa Wageni Waalikwa
Honorable First Lady of the United Republic of Tanzania, Mama Kikwete
Honorable Minister of State for Union Affairs, Dr. Hussein Mwinyi
Honorable Minister of Lands, Housing, and Human Settlement Developments, John Magufuli
Honorable Deputy Ministers
Mabibi na Mabwana
Nimefurahi kuwa hapa jioni hii
Karibuni nyumbani kwangu
I am pleased that the First Lady could join us this evening. Mama, I would like to applaud your recent trip to the United States. My Director of USAID briefed me that it was an absolute success. I have seen photos of you and Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster several times. I also saw your photo donating a map of Tanzania to a primary school in my nation’s capital. I congratulate your gesture for noting the importance of education. I believe that the more our two countries learn about each other, the closer we will become.
The same can be said of religions. Tonight, there are not only Muslims here, but several faiths coming together, in friendship and fellowship, as we share in this Futari during the holy month of Ramadhan. It allows each one of us to acknowledge that although we may come from different religions, we all believe in a single powerful force. I believe that the more we learn about and understand each other’s religions, the more we come to realize we truly have more in common, than we have differences. For example, during the past year, I have learned that the Holy Koran, Chapter 49, verse 13, says that God saves all humankind, that God created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you equal, and made you into nations and tribes that you come to know each other, not that you may despise each other. This belief rings true for both Muslims and Christians and possibly for all other religions, as well.
I appreciate Tanzania’s reputation as an island of stability in this region. This well-deserved reputation comes from this country’s peaceful transition of power from one elected government to the next. This peaceful handover of power comes from the fact that Tanzania has successfully managed harmonious relations between the various religions and faiths living side by side throughout this beautiful country. President Kikwete said as much in his speech in Boston. It is a pleasure working closely with him as the United States and the United Republic of Tanzania continue to build a strong relationship together.
One area I would very much like to coordinate efforts on remains Sudan. The situation in Darfur is a humanitarian crisis. The United States and Tanzania, together with the rest of the international community, should encourage the government of Sudan to accept United Nations’ peacekeepers and help create an opportunity for a real and lasting peace in Darfur. I believe that with Tanzania’s leadership on this issue, the people of Sudan will come to experience the same liberties and freedoms that our two countries know and cherish. Let us pray that the Sudanese people find that peace, not alone, but with the international community by its side, so that the people of Darfur may know peace during this holy month and beyond.
Finally, let me say, asenteni sana!