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President Obama Addresses U.S. Ambassadors, Underscores Need for Continued Global Leadership

Today, President Obama addressed U.S. ambassadors during their annual Chiefs of Mission Conference at the U.S. Department of State.  In remarks to the group of leaders, who are in Washington for the next few days, the President thanked them for their extraordinary work on behalf of America. “…Because of you, we are safer and more secure, and America’s reputation around the world is extraordinarily strong” he said.
President Obama also thanked the assembly for their leadership noting that for many people around the world, both foreign governments and foreign publics, they are the voice and the face of the United States. “You don't just convey our interests,” he said to the group, “you represent our values, you represent our diversity.  You and your teams represent the very best of America.”
Underscoring the important role of the United States' continued commitment to diplomacy, the President said, “Conflicts and wars do not end on their own.  Breakthroughs do not just happen.  Agreements don’t write themselves. It takes diplomacy, being willing to sit down with others -- and sometimes with adversaries, sometimes with people whose values are completely contradictory to our own.  But as John [Kerry] always says, we have to try.”
President Barack Obama greets U.S. Ambassadors in attendance at the 2016 Chief of Missions Conference in Washington, D.C. on March 14, 2016. (State Department photo)
During his remarks President Obama also expressed his appreciation to the ambassadors for their partnership and vital role in renewing American leadership. He said, “I believe that a broader vision of American strength that harnesses all elements of our national power, including diplomacy, is what is going to make a difference in this complicated age that we live in.” He then cited the example of Iran nuclear agreement, stating “That's how we build a global coalition to deal with Iran -- strong sanctions plus diplomacy.  And under the nuclear deal, Iran will not get its hands on a nuclear weapon.”
President Obama pointed to other areas where diplomacy made progress possible, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, how we rallied the world to stop Ebola, how we worked with nearly 200 nations to reach the Paris agreement, and how we began a new chapter of engagement with Cuba. He also made clear, however, that much work remains to continue making progress toward a safer and more prosperous world, and to deal with the enormous challenges that burden so many people globally. President Obama outlined several lines of effort in which our chiefs of mission can lend their support in their assigned countries, such as countering the threat of terrorism, mobilizing to meet shares challenges by strengthening international rules and norms that guard peace and security, and continuing to combat transnational threats. Most of all the President highlighted the important role the U.S. government, particularly the chief of mission and their embassies and consulates, has in partnering with nations and people to seize the incredible opportunities found at this moment in history.
Watch President Obama’s full remarks here to see what he said about the need for continued U.S. global leadership and sustained, principled diplomacy:

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