Ambassador Sullivan at the Embassy Expanison Groundbreaking


His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, and Congolese Abroad,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Distinguished guests,

Thank you for joining us at this important groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion project of the United States embassy. You cannot being to imagine how happy I am that we are finally about to launch this project. The fact that we are here today is the proof of constant and clearly constructive diplomatic efforts. As the well-known philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “a voyage of a thousand kilometers begins with the first step.” I am very happy to be before you today concretely investing in the Congo and deepening our bilateral commitment.

Reflecting how to work together is rewarding. This project of thirty million dollars combines the innovation and creativity of American engineers and designers with the know-how of Congolese mechanical engineers, electricians, and civilians. We will employ 150 Congolese who will have jobs and gain technical expertise in construction. The project will equally permit the employment of Turkish construction workers. In accord with American values, we will protect workers by conforming to labor laws and elevated security norms during the entire two year project.

Ecological considerations are an important component of bilateral cooperation. Given that the Congo Basin includes the second largest virgin forest in the world after the Amazon and shelters endangered wildlife and 10,000 tropical plants, it is therefore appropriate that the new landscape construction will include the addition of fifty new trees. We want to do our part to support the second lung of the planet in reducing carbon emissions. The installations will use energy-saving lamps and solar panels to create hot water. The plumbing will conserve water, and a high-capacity water purification station to treat used water will reduce waste. The design has attained the highest level Gold Certification given by the American office for durable buildings for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, also known as LEED.

In reducing energy consumption, we respect an important environmental norm. This project equally demonstrates that disparate objectives in business, development, and environmental protection can in fact harmoniously coexist – complementing and reinforcing each other, just like the relationship between the Congo and the United States of America.

The extension of the United States embassy in Brazzaville is a concrete sign that our lasting connections and solid commitment remain engaged in the Congo. We are truly still innovating and we continue to do so, so that we will open the path towards a better future. As the Minister of Foreign Affairs said at the inauguration of our new embassy in January 2009, “When a foreigner builds a house in your village, you know that he is here to stay.” I am happy to witness the truth in this statement.

I would like to particularly thank the Office of Overseas Construction Operations for their determination to stay directed with this project. Thank you as well to the construction teams ARKEL Ortadogu and the American architecture firm KCCT for creating a beautiful plan for our new energy-efficient complex. I am convinced that, with our conjoined efforts and cooperation with the government of the Republic of the Congo, this important project will be achieved in two years.

Once again, thank you to all for joining us.