|This isn’t goodbye, even as I leave|
|Thursday, 05 July 2012 11:52|
Ambassador Charles RayYesterday, we celebrated American Independence Day — the most important, uniquely American holiday on our calendar. Americans are very patriotic. Whether we are newly-minted Americans who immigrated last year or our forebears arrived on the Mayflower or the Amistad, all of us have a strong belief in the concept and best values of the United States.
On July 4, we celebrate these two very American traits: aspiring for the best lives for all people, and never giving up in the face of adversity.
In addition to this, I have witnessed and tried to encourage productive, more respectful engagement between our governments. These are a few key examples of US-Zimbabwean partnership during my time here:
Through the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief or PEPFAR, we are working closely with the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to support 80 000 HIV+ Zimbabweans on anti-retroviral treatment.
In addition to this, we are working closely on the fight against malaria and other communicable diseases, as well as building the management skills of health professionals.
At the October 2011 “Doing Business in Zimbabwe” forum in Washington, DC, I made a point of saying, “Zimbabwe is open for business,” and I encouraged US companies to take a closer look.
US firms to clarify misperceptions about our policies.
I am equally committed to trumpeting the critical need for credible, transparent institutions. A stable, democratic nation is based on institutions, not individuals.
On June 14, President Obama signed a Presidential Policy Directive committing the United States to a forward-looking strategy of working closely with our African partners to advance prosperity, security, and dignity on the continent.
Developed with input from Africans and Americans in government and civil society, the new “US Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa” sets forth four strategic objectives for US engagement in Africa, namely; strengthening democratic institutions; spurring economic growth, trade, and investment; advancing peace and security; and promoting opportunity and development.
These four pillars are mutual areas of interest and concern for the US and Zimbabwe.
I will be leaving not only Zimbabwe, but also my career as a servant of the American people. After 30 years as a diplomat, preceded by 20 years as a soldier, it is time for me to retire and to devote most of my energy to the great intellectual love of my life: writing.
I plan to remain actively involved in international affairs, as well as domestic affairs in the US, but now I will do this as a private citizen for the first time in 50 years.