VILNIUS -- Officials from the Baltic States have expressed their condolences over the death of Ronald Asmus, a US citizen who was instrumental in the countries' bids to join NATO.
“R.Asmus opened the door to NATO for Lithuania. He was one of the first prominent Western politicians and famous security experts, who aimed at admitting the Baltic States into the Alliance and consistently supported this objective while working for the U.S. President Bill Clinton’s administration. He was a true friend of Lithuania and of all the Baltic States,” the Lithuanian foreign minister said in a letter to his US counterpart.
The sentiments were echoed by the Latvian foreign ministry, which praised his "ambition for setting and accomplishing goals once considered impossible."
"He was instrumental in the development and implementation of the strategy for NATO expansion. Ronald Asmus will be remembered in Latvia as a good friend and staunch supporter of Latvia’s security as the positive effects of the ideas he initiated are felt to this day," a press release from the ministry said.
Asmus was served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs from 1997-2000 and has been a senior analyst and fellow at Radio Free Europe, RAND and the Council on Foreign Relations. He has recveived medals from Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and the US for his work in Eastern Europe after the fall of communism. He later took a position at the German Marshall Fund.