|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks at Embassy Meet and Greet and Award Presentation
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, March 8, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
Thank you very, very much Ambassador Miller for that introduction. But most of all thank you for your dedication and the level of energy that you have brought to what I consider one of the most important posts that we have. And I must say that I feel deeply attached to this particular embassy. I kind of watched it change and grow. This is my embassy. I like it here. I think that the kind of work that everybody has done is quite amazing. And, watching all of you operate in these circumstances and hearing about you and reading about you when I am back in Washington means a great deal to me. You've done a tremendous job and we all salute you.
I came here for the first time when things did look pretty bleak. And I think we've all done a tremendous job together for Bosnia-Herzegovina. And it is an important job, not just for the people of Bosnia but for the Balkans and for the symbol that it gives to the entire world, that if people put their minds to doing something and with the help of the U.S. and the Western community changes can be made. And difficult though it may be, the changes are happening. You have done a tremendous job, I think, in moving from a transitional operation to something as the Ambassador describes as a fully functioning embassy. And, I must say, as he spoke about your facilities, I was thinking about something that I learned last night. And that is, that the House of Representatives is considering cutting our measly budget. I find it stunning. And among the things they are thinking about cutting are things to do with our facilities and our security. Appalling. And I made some phone calls last night and I can promise you that I am going to, even as I am traveling, make quite clear that our budget which is a minimal budget in the first place, cannot suffer a cut of around 20% as is being suggested by some in the House of Representatives. I hope you will agree that we cannot cut our budget any further.
I think that this embassy particularly has gone through a great deal. A lot of the people that we're honoring today originally all worked at the Holiday Inn. They moved for good reason after a bullet came through the Ambassador's office. People then worked seven days a week despite the constant shelling and bombing and with no overtime. They came to work and moved around in light armored vehicles. I must say I did on my first trip here too and, a sign of progress was the next time I got to stay in the Holiday Inn but it did have a hole in the wall and then finally the Holiday Inn became its gorgeous yellow and was well known all around and we can all stay there now. When all of you traveled outside of the city in Humvees and sometimes people had to stay in the embassy overnight and so we are particularly grateful to all those who have worked so hard to make this place really be what it needs to be in representing the United States.
I see some familiar faces and a former Line Assistant Lynn Bitters is here. Lynn is a person who has worked so hard on the Line, to come here and then get to work here, just goes to show that no good deed goes unpunished. I hope that you are all very welcoming. I am very grateful to the FSNs and today I want to especially recognize a unique group that has been with the Embassy from the very beginning, from war to peace. Their courage and dedication has contributed much to the Embassy's establishment and growth and progress and they are the ones without whom this place would not work. That is true of our FSNs in so many places but here it is visible in every single way. So, I am very grateful to you and Ambassador Miller we can proceed with some of the recognitions.
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