AMBASSADOR CAMPBELL: This is a week of important anniversaries and it’s been a tremendous pleasure for the U.S. government, the U.S. delegation to participate in the celebration of the 25th anniversary Mongolia’s first free and fair elections.
25 years ago August, then Secretary of State James Baker arrived in Mongolia for his first visit and he spoke of the passion and excitement that he experienced in talking to Mongolians who had just participated in that election.
And I think we can say that Secretary Baker’s lifelong love for Mongolia was really inspired during that visit.
The visit in 1990 unfortunately was cut short because Iraq invaded Kuwait, and Secretary Baker needed to leave.
But he was determined on two things. The first was to sign these three important agreements that the former Foreign Minister referred to, including the agreement establishing the U.S.-Mongolia cooperation on Peace Corps. And the second was to return to Mongolia as he did almost exactly a year later for a longer visit in 1991.
So, next year we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Secretary Baker’s second visit to Mongolia and just as next year we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the arrival of the first Peace Corps volunteers.
As Foreign Minister Purevsuren said, more than 1149 American have come and served in Mongolia as Peace Corps volunteers. I love to think of the web of connections generated by those 1149 people. And just as the U.S.-Mongolia relationship continues to grow to flourish, so does our Peace Corps program. Today, we have 150 volunteers in country, the largest number ever. If I can return to Mongolia in 25 years, for the 50th anniversary of democracy and for the 50th anniversary for the Peace Corps program, I hope I will hear that both Mongolia’s democracy and the U.S-Mongolia relationship enshrined in the Peace Corps program are in a fabulous shape.