Presentation of Letters of Credence (European Union, Republic of Armenia, Republic of Poland, Republic of Uganda, Republic of Maldives, Republic of Malawi)

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The Citadelle, Tuesday, September 12, 2017



I am honoured to welcome you to Canada and to the Citadelle here today.

Diplomacy is of the utmost importance, especially in an increasingly complex world. It allows us to speak to each other, to understand each other, to find common ground.

With your arrival, we are engaging further with your countries in the type of diplomacy that will build on our strengths and bring our peoples together.

Ambassador Ustubs, you hold a unique position as the envoy not for a particular country, but for an entire community of nations. You come to Canada already with a deep understanding of the importance of our relationship. You have often advised and counselled our own mission, and we rely on your knowledge. Now, you bring that expertise here. I know that our ties will continue to grow with your support.

Canada and the European Union have a strong partnership based on shared values, a history of close co-operation and vibrant people-to-people ties. These ties are reflected in our collaboration in science and technology, in battling climate change, and in addressing issues of refugees, migration, human rights and the rule of law. There is a special opportunity to increase our trade relations, particularly as we get closer to implementing the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. We look forward to your tenure as ambassador and the growth of an already robust relationship.

Ambassador Martirosyan, you and I share a background in and a passion for law. You have used your experience to serve your country in a number of different ways, all with the goal of strengthening your country. In addition, like me, you know the value of studying abroad. Your education—both in Armenia and in the United Kingdom—has no doubt influenced your career and your world views. 

This year, Canada and Armenia celebrated 25 years of bilateral relations. This anniversary is a good opportunity to look at how we can expand our bonds. We have a vibrant Armenian diaspora community in Canada, numbering more than 60 000. In recent years, our governments have been in close contact through a number of high-level visits to both countries. Canada was also delighted that Armenia was successful in its bid to host the annual Francophonie Summit in 2018. Close dialogue is essential in forging new and stronger ties with each other, which is where your focus will no doubt lie during your time here.

Ambassador Kurnicki, as I understand it, this is your first posting abroad. I hope you will immerse yourself in the larger diplomatic community in Canada, as there is much to learn from your peers. Of course, we have much to learn from you as well. Your experience in the business sector and in education will inform your work as ambassador. Your appointment underscores how important our relationship is to Canada, one that I was proud to celebrate both during my visit to Poland in 2014 and during your president’s visit to Canada last year. 

In 2017, Poland and Canada mark 75 years of diplomatic relations, a milestone which gives us an opportunity to reflect on the values we share as nations and peoples. We also look forward to new opportunities. Our relationship is focussed on strengthening and expanding our existing bonds and creating new people-to-people ties. I hope that we can continue to find other ways to work together.

High Commissioner Acheng, you have been a strong advocate for women and children, an issue of great importance to me as well. Your work has gone above and beyond, helping women and children who suffer from trauma to recover and reintegrate into society. I’m delighted that you’re now in Canada, where your interests are valued and where your dedication to helping others will serve you well as a representative of your country.

Uganda and Canada have worked well together in a number of international fora, including the UN, the Commonwealth, the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund. I’m pleased to see that we are exploring avenues of stability and security, and also of trade, particularly in the energy sector. We are also grateful to your country for opening its borders to refugees from South Sudan and welcoming those in distress. We hope to continue to find new ways to work together.

Ambassador Mohamed, it is a pleasure to have you here in Canada. As a career diplomat, with experiences both in Maldives and abroad, you know how vital it is to keep lines of communications open. I also hope that, being a non-resident ambassador, you will take every opportunity to visit communities across Canada and to meet with Canadians. You will find so many who are eager and willing to engage with you.

The relationship between Maldives and Canada spans more than 35 years. We can always rely on frank and open conversations with your country. We will continue to work together on important issues, most notably climate change. We welcome your proactive engagement on this issue, as well as your participation in the upcoming Canada-EU-China Ministerial Meeting on Climate Action, taking place in Montréal. We hope to continue to find new ways to work together.

High Commissioner Sawerengera, you have devoted your life to public service and to your country, and you are once again taking up the call to improve the lives of your fellow citizens. I hope that, being a non-resident high commissioner, you will take every opportunity to visit communities across Canada and to meet with Canadians. You will find so many who are eager and willing to engage with you.

Malawi and Canada work together, particularly through the Commonwealth and the United Nations, to better our world and create opportunities for both our peoples. Climate change, for instance, is one issue of great importance to our countries. I also note that Malawi is one of the countries in South-Eastern Africa where we have the most Canadian youth volunteers, reflecting our growing ties. I hope we will continue to work together on multilateral issues to build more equitable and fair societies.

To you all: congratulations once again on your new roles, and thank you for your commitment to working with Canada.

You are all very welcome here, so let us work together in a spirit of partnership and co-operation.

Thank you.