Washington, DC - Secretary of State John Kerry: "On behalf of the President of the United States and the American people, I send best wishes to the people and government of Tajikistan as you celebrate your 24th Independence Day on September 9.

"Today honors the fierce determination of the Tajik people to establish a peaceful, democratic, prosperous and secure future for themselves. We continue to stand with the people of Tajikistan in this endeavor, particularly following the tragic events of September 4, and extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims.

"Tajikistan is an important partner in a region of growing global significance. We continue to strengthen our bilateral relationship in a number of areas, including support for humane and effective law enforcement training and assistance, and look forward to more opportunities for dialogue and cooperation in these and other areas."