Remarks at Award Presentation
Cotroceni Palace
Bucharest, Romania
November 23, 2002
3:47 P.M. Local Time

Mr. President, thank you so much for this honor. I accept the Star of Romania on behalf of my country, and I appreciate the spirit of friendship that this award represents.

I want to thank the Prime Minister and members of your government for such fine hospitality. Laura and I are honored to be here, and so is my Cabinet, members of my Cabinet, as well as senior members of my staff. We're here because America and the nations of the world have seen the courage and character of the Romanian people. You have liberated yourselves from tyranny. You're building a vibrant democracy. And you're preparing to join NATO. In all these events of history, America has been your friend, and we'll be proud to call you ally.

Mr. President, Romania and America share common values and common challenges. We will join together to open markets, to build a new relationship with Russia, to confront global terrorism, and to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Europe and America face unprecedented dangers to our security, and we will face these dangers together.

The Romanian people have made a great effort to meet the standards of NATO membership. That effort is succeeding. America respects all that you have done and all that you will do in the cause of freedom. And America will be your partner in continuing the work of reform.

On behalf of the American people, I proudly affirm the close relationship between our countries, and I thank you for the honor of this award. May God bless Romania. (Applause.)

END 3:51 P.M. Local Time