March 6, 2006
RIGA, March 2 (LETA) – President Vaira Vike-Freiberga yesterday presented the Three Star Order and the Cross of Recognition to several United States Congress, Department of State and NATO Committee members for their contribution to Latvia’s membership in NATO.
Vike-Freiberga presented the Three Star Order to U.S. Senators Richard Lugar and John McCain, Congressman John Shimkus and Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried, LETA learned from President’s Press Department.
The Cross of Recognition was presented to U.S. NATO Committee board member Randy Scheunemann.
Opening the ceremony, Latvian Ambassador to the U.S. Maris Riekstins said that the place where the ceremony was held – the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee’s offices – was very suited for the ceremony because it was the place where many important debates on NATO enlargement and development matters had taken place.
Vike-Freiberga spoke about Latvia’s fate in the 20th century, gaining independence, the years of Soviet occupation and restoration of independence, and said that the support from friends and allies, including the U.S., had been of major importance to Latvia.
Latvia’s acession to NATO marked irreversible change in Latvia’s status in the world, Vike-Freiberga said.