US Ambassador Mark Gitenstein received the Star of Romania Grand Cross award from President Traian Basescu on Wednesday. The ceremony took place yesterday afternoon at the Presidential Palace. President Basescu stated that Mark Gitenstein “was one of the diplomats that not only loved their job but also loved the country in which they were US ambassadors.” In what concerns his activity as a diplomat, Basescu stated that “my feeling was that he always wanted to be very well informed and to have the correct interpretation of what is happening in Romania.” The Head of State outdid himself in praising the American diplomat, one of his most important backers during the impeachment last summer. “I admired the meticulosity with which he was preparing his points of view on what is happening on Romania through the talks he had with a large number of politicians, including with myself.” “I would like to thank Mr. Ambassador on this occasion for the exceptional way in which he prepared my visit in Washington.” “There were many US ambassadors in Bucharest during the 132 years of bilateral diplomatic relations. Mr. Ambassador, you will surely be one of the American ambassadors we will remember with great pleasure and I ask you not to hesitate to return to Romania, albeit as a tourist,” Traian Basescu concluded. In his speech Mark Gitenstein stated that he was “deeply moved by the receipt of this award.” “So strengthening the bilateral relationship between Romania and the United States has been a labor of love,” the diplomat stated, pointing out that the best part of his term “has been getting to know individual Romanians, your energy, intelligence, passion, creativity and humor. Romanians are patriotic and care that this country and her institutions be strong and empower each Romanian to realize his or her dreams. We Americans share those same values. God Bless America! God Bless Romania!” Mark Gitenstein stated at the end of his speech at the Presidential Palace.