NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow on Monday was awarded Romania's Star in rank of Grand Officer by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in appreciation of constant support to Romania and his vision for Euro-Atlantic development and security. The high-ranking NATO official was in Bucharest for the Annual Meeting of Romania's Diplomacy.
At the award ceremony hosted by the Cotroceni Presidential Palace, Iohannis thanked ambassador Vershbow "for his entire activity as deputy secretary general of NATO and for his direct and important contribution to NATO achieving its objectives." "His tenure has witnessed a highly dynamic period of time and a very complex security context marked by an accentuated lack of predictability, where the North-Atlantic Alliance had to simultaneously manage a whole series of serious challenges and threats, both in its eastern and its southern neighbourhoods," said Iohannis.
The Romanian head of state said Vershbow is "a groundbreaker whose direct and efficient involvement has allowed NATO to undertake a part that has been ambitious and credible, besides being particularly efficient in managing current threats." "His special experience and deep understanding of the developments in the eastern neighbourhood of NATO have been determinant in defining the consolidation measures for the eastern flank of NATO. Equally lauded has been his active involvement in NATO consolidating support for its partner states and deepening dialogue with them," said Iohannis, adding that Vershbow has been Romania's true friend.
Vershbow said in his turn that he is very honoured to receive the decoration, as it is a special honour for him to be acknowledged by a country that has an important contribution to NATO and NATO collective security. He mentioned Romania's involvement in NATO's activities, saying that over the 12 years of its NATO membership, Romania has many times proved its value by participating in Afghanistan and Kosovo missions and by hosting key elements of the NATO missile defence system, as well as by actively contributing to the decisions of the recent NATO Summit in Warsaw to strengthen NATO defence and consolidate its positions.
Vershbow also mentioned the political environment when Central and Eastern European countries became NATO allies. He said he is very proud to have been able to help shape up policies that allowed NATO to welcome in Romania and other Central European countries; former enemies, he said, became partners at first and then friends and very strong allies. Vershbow added that he had the privilege of witnessing the involvement of Romanian troops NATO actions, saying that men and women from Romania as NATO military and civilian personnel have helped the Alliance be strong and Europe safe.