On September 6, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first Secretary of State to visit Dili, where she helped celebrate the 10th anniversary of Timor-Leste as an independent, democratic state. In her meetings with senior officials, Secretary Clinton emphasized U.S. support for the young democracy of Timor-Leste.
In a joint press conference with Timor-Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, Secretary Clinton offered a message to the Timorese people. She said, "The United States was proud to stand with you during your struggle for independence, and we are standing with you as you work to build a strong democracy with robust institutions, the rule of law, and protecting the rights of all of your citizens. Strong democracies, we know from long practice, make more stable neighbors and capable partners, which is one of the reasons why the United States is advancing democracy and human rights as a central pillar of our engagement throughout Asia."
Secretary Clinton emphasized ways the United States and Timor-Leste are working together -- from the robust military partnership between Timor-Leste and the United States Pacific Command to efforts to strengthen the justice sector, improve access to healthcare, develop agriculture, and expand trade.
In closing, Secretary Clinton said, "I'm so glad I've had this opportunity to visit one of the world's newest democracies, but a country whose people have already shown a resilience and character that is required in a democratic tradition. And so let us work together to build an enduring partnership between our nations."