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The Day of Tolerance and 10 years Bulgaria in NATO were celebrated at the Embassy of Bulgaria in Washington, DC

29 April 2014 News

The ceremony of awarding a "Golden Laurel Bough" to American partners for their contribution to Bulgaria's accession to NATO and to mark the Day of Tolerance was held on 28 April in Washington,DC.  Minister Kristian Vigenin conferred the award to Richard Lugar, a longtime senator (1977-2013), Daniel Fried, a former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs (2005-2009), Special Assistant to the U.S. President and Senior Director for European and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council of the United States (2001-2005), Ian Brzezinski, a senior researcher at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security to the Atlantic Council, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO Policy (2001-2005), and Sally Painter, Co-founder and COO at Blue Star Strategies,LLC, a former Adviser to the governments of Latvia, Estonia, Romania and Bulgaria in connection with their applications for NATO membership and an advocate for their accession to the Alliance.

In his welcoming speech, Minister Vigenin said that Bulgaria highly appreciates the support of the American partners for Bulgaria's accession to NATO. The membership in the organization is a matter of freedom and right of choice, he said, adding that other nations should also be able to make their own choice.

Senator Lugar, Daniel Fried, Ian Brzezinski and Sally Painter shared memories of their work, related to the process of Bulgaria's accession to the Alliance. They emphasized that the leading motive was to see a "united, free and secure" Europe and noted the important role of Bulgaria in the region and its contribution to the activities of the organization. Ian Brzezinski praised the participation of Bulgarian troops in Afghanistan and identified the interaction between Bulgaria and the U.S. within NATO as "a very strong partnership." The U.S. representatives expressed the view that the enlargement process of the organization should continue.

The Day of Tolerance was marked with the awarding of Neil Glick, initiator of the naming of the square to the Embassy in Washington afterDimitar Peshev, former Vice-President of the National Assembly, who contributed to the savingof nearly 50,000 Bulgarian Jews from deportation to the death camps. Minister Vigenin  pointed out that Bulgaria is proud of his work and the Bulgarians are striving to remember and keep alive this page of our history. He expressed gratitude for the contribution of Neil Glick for the naming of the square after Dimitar Peshev.


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