President Dalia Grybauskaitė

Speech by President Dalia Grybauskaitė at the celebration of the 15th anniversary of Lithuania’s membership in NATO and the 70th anniversary of the Alliance

2019-03-30

Dear Fellow People of Lithuania,

Dear Allies,

Dear Soldiers,

Welcome to a double celebration!

Next week, NATO marks its 70th anniversary! For fifteen years now we, too, have been part of its historic timeline.

We are proud to be celebrating the anniversary of our membership in NATO together with our allies.

Joining the Alliance was explicit international recognition. A month later, we were accepted to the European Union. For Lithuania, it was a beautiful spring of major breakthroughs.     

It is a symbolic and historic coincidence that two organizations – both of profound significance to our country – were established the same year: the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Union of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters. Today’s celebration is a tribute to all freedom fighters, a salute to independence ideals.

Lithuania’s membership in NATO means that our country stands for Western democratic values underpinning the right to free and peaceful life.

We have twenty eight strong and committed friends in the Alliance. NATO, meanwhile, has Lithuania – loyal and steadfast partner with a modern and viable army that celebrated its centenary last year.

We are happy to share this festive spirit with more than six thousand troops from six countries – Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Norway, Belgium, and Iceland – serving in NATO’s forward presence in Lithuania. And also with half a hundred of American soldiers.

Our air space is guarded by a Polish contingent of four fighter jets. Since the Baltic Air Policing mission was launched when we joined NATO, aircrews from 17 countries have been patrolling the Baltic skies.

We know that membership in NATO is both an honor and an opportunity that need to be earned. We therefore support Ukraine’s and Georgia’s efforts to attain their ultimate goal. Lithuania has demonstrated that everything is possible: to regain independence and to safeguard it.   

Seventy years of NATO means seventy years of peace in Europe.    

Dear Allies,

Today, we celebrate 70 years of peace and security on both sides of the Atlantic.

Peace and freedom – the core values of our Alliance – have always been in the hearts of Lithuanians. In those days when our freedom fighters were brave to stand alone against the Soviet empire. And now when our soldiers take part in missions abroad to defend the values and security of all twenty-nine nations.

Today, we are happy to share our success with you – with our Allies. With the nations of NATO’s enhanced forward presence on our soil and in the whole region. With nations on air policing and with naval vessels in the Baltic Sea. With every allied soldier who demonstrates the will and strength to defend our values.

NATO is our honor and pride. NATO is our strongest commitment. We have always known that the freedom loving countries never surrender.

Much success to all of us!

May allied unity and solidarity stay with us as we build a peaceful future. Happy celebration to all of you!

Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Last updated 2019.04.01 08:49

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