Secretary Rumsfeld Statement at Presidential Palace with President Iliescu, Bucharest, Romania
Mr. President, thank you so much for those gracious and important words. As you know, my last visit to Romania was a long time ago – back in 1971. I was very pleased to accept your invitation to return after all those years.
The differences between Romania some 3 decades ago and what we have seen in the past period here is impressive. Your vibrant, democratic society, and your robust economy; the fact that Romania is now a member of NATO are all signs of positive changes that have occurred the last decades.
It was a proud moment last March when we stood on the White House lawn with the leaders of seven new members and President Bush presided over the NATO Accession Ceremony. In our discussions today, I had the opportunity to tell the President how much we value the stalwart support of our strategic partner and ally in our global war on terror efforts.
The Romanian people and the president and his government have provided generous and reliable and stalwart support in all aspects of the current global war on terror. I want to publicly acknowledge our appreciation for your support in Afghanistan, your support in Iraq and your consistent efforts to help win in the struggle against extremism.
I also want to commend the president and Romania today as they commemorate their first Holocaust Remembrance Day. The holocaust was a tragedy that must not be forgotten.
So Mr. President, I thank you. You are a stalwart friend and ally, a strategic partner. And I look forward to your hospitality today and tomorrow for this important NATO meeting that you have agreed to host. Thank you, sir.