Washington, DC - Secretary of State John Kerry: "On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Benin as you celebrate the 55th anniversary of your independence on August 1.

"We share a friendship based on democratic values.  The new Embassy compound we opened in July and the second Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact expected to be signed in the coming days are important demonstrations of our growing partnership. I commend your commitment to strengthen democracy, end corruption, and improve governance.  You are a stalwart of peace and stability in West Africa.

"On this joyous occasion, I wish all Beninese prosperity in the year ahead."