The Romanian Presidency marked on Wednesday 10 years since Romania was invited to join NATO. The ceremony was a rare moment when incumbent President Traian Basescu and predecessors Ion Iliescu and Emil Constantinescu were seen together, in the company of ambassadors and other officials. US Ambassador to Romania Mark Gitenstein used the occasion to describe the US-Romania partnership as essential for NATO's European missile shield.
Host Traian Basescu congratulated former presidents Constantinescu and Iliescu for their roles in Romania's NATO accession. Basescu underlined Romania's advantages as a NATO member and its contribution to the alliances and said that more solidarity and contribution was needed among all allied countries. He said the missile defence, a part of which is deployed in Romania, and the strategic partnership with the US were important assets for improving Romania's security.
For his part, ex-President Ion Iliescu recalled that during a visit to the White House he saw a picture of the "rainbow that marked our accession to NATO" - a reference to a rainbow which appeared during a public speech in a Bucharest by former US President George W. Bush.