US diplomat hails Botswana/USA pact

SHARE   |   Monday, 27 June 2016   |   By Keitebe Kgosikebatho

The United States of America ambassador to Botswana Earl Miller says the two country’s shared aspirations to the dream of democracy, self-determination and equality are one of the reasons why they have such a strong partnership. According to Miller, the US took heed of Botswana’s first president Sir Seretse Khama’s call for assistance when the country got its independence in 1966. “I am proud to say the United States and Botswana have been friends from the very beginning. We were eager to answer Sir Seretse Khama’s call in a partnership that has grown and thrived for fifty years,” Miller said on the independence anniversary celebrations of the USA which though falling on July 4 were brought forward.

Miller said one of the first examples of the two country’s friendship came with the December 1966 arrival of a cadre of skilled and enthusiastic Peace Corps Volunteers who worked as teachers and advisors to ministries across the country. According to Miller, over 2500 Peace Corp volunteers have lived and worked across Botswana since 1966. There are currently 130 volunteers in the country at the moment, with 82 more expected to arrive in August. The ambassador further said Botswana and US health partnership is one of the strongest in the world. Through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, he said, the United States has invested more than $750 million dollars to assist Botswana in combating HIV/AIDS.

He said the United States foreign policy objectives have not change despite views expressed by some political figures recently. “Many of you expressed your concerns to me about the tone of election campaign rhetoric in the United States. Let me be clear, divisive rhetoric, wherever it comes from, does not reflect Secretary Kerry’s or President Obama’s view of our foreign policy objectives. It certainly does not reflect mine. And it does not reflect our values as Americans,” Miller said.

Meanwhile the Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Phillip Makgalemele also affirmed and applauded the good relationship that the two countries share. “It is gratifying to note that this occasion, not only marks the 240th Anniversary of the American Independence, but also marks 50 years of the existing strong bonds of friendship and the close ties that have stood the test of time,” Makgalemele said.