ZAGREB, November 15, 2019 – Former Austrian Defence Minister Mario Kunasek, at a ceremony in Zagreb on Thursday, was presented with the Croatian Order of Duke Trpimir with Neck Badge and Morning Star for his outstanding contribution to the promotion of relations between the two countries, the Croatian Defence Ministry said in a press release.
The medal was presented on behalf of the President of Croatia and Commander in Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, by Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, who also cited Kunasek’s great contribution to the return of the MiG-21 fighter plane which Croatian pilot Rudolf Perešin had flown from a Yugoslav Air Force base outside the northwestern Bosnian town of Bihać to Klagenfurt, Austria in the early stages of the war in October 1991.
Expressing his gratitude for this honour, Kunašek said that he accepted it on behalf of all the people who had helped and participated in the process of returning the plane to Croatia.
“When Perešin landed the aircraft at Klagenfurt, he showed an attitude and posture that we should show today, and that is that our task is to ensure stability, security and peace in our region. I will always be a friend of Croatia and will always keep this recognition in my heart. Long live Croatia and Austria!” Kunasek said.
The Order of Duke Trpimir with Neck Badge and Morning Star is awarded to Croatian and foreign government ministers and other senior officials for outstanding contribution to the independence, territorial integrity and international reputation of Croatia and the promotion of relations between Croatia and other countries.
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