Washington, DC - Secretary of State John Kerry: "On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Niger as you celebrate the 55th anniversary of your independence on August 3.

"I commend you for advancing peace and tolerance as you battle violent extremism along your borders. Your willingness to host over 150,000 refugees and returnees who have fled violence in neighboring countries is a testament to the generosity of the Nigerien people.

"I wish all the people of Niger a joyous Independence Day. I look forward to working together towards a healthy, prosperous, and secure Niger."