Washington DC, the USA (20 November 2015) – During her visit to the United States, Minister of Defence of Montenegro Milica Pejanović-Đurišić met with US Assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Affairs Elissa Slotkin.
Mrs Slotkin commended Montenegro’s progress in the reform process, referring particularly to the reforms within the security and defence sectors. She underlined that the US will continue providing support to Montenegro after receiving NATO invitation in early December.
Minister Pejanović-Đurišić pledged Montenegro’s commitment to dealing with the current global security and stability threats together with its partners.
“The leading role and the US support for the integration process of Montenegro contributed to reaching standards of the partnership countries, and the future membership in the Alliance obliges us to achieve further progress and accountability,” said Minister Pejanović-Đurišić noted.
Minister Pejanović-Đurišić also met in Washington with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Security Cooperation at United States Department of Defence Tommy Ross for talks on Montenegro’s reforms the defence and security sectors aimed at achieving the requested level of interoperability, as well as harmonising defence procedures and policies with those of NATO partnership countries.
“Representatives of the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces of Montenegro, in cooperation with the Pentagon’s advisory teams, will continue making efforts towards building capacities of the defence sector, modernising the Armed Forces, improving the quality of education and training of professional soldiers,” Montenegro’s Defence Minister pointed out.
Mr Ross said that Montenegro’s membership in the Alliance will create new opportunities for strengthening cooperation and partnership relations between Montenegro and the USA. Engagement of the Montenegrin Armed Forces in the international missions is important for strengthening interoperability and building capacities of the army, he stressed.
The meeting with Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller commended the successfully implemented joint projects, as well as the assistance the United States provides to Montenegro through funds and initiatives in the process of modernising and reforming its defence system. In that regard, Minister Pejanović-Đurišić added that Montenegro has made efforts towards neutralising outdated and insecure weapons, thus improving the overall security of the Montenegrin citizens.
Under Secretary Gottemoeller welcomed the results Montenegro has achieved, stressing the need to boost the Montenegro Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces’ participation in new projects. Regarding the expected NATO invitation, Ms Gottemoeller said that Montenegro represents a positive example and a role model in carrying out the accession process in an effective and qualitative manner.
Minister Pejanović-Đurišić also met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State John Hepher, with whom she discussed the strategic importance of the Euro-Atlantic accession process, not only for Montenegro and the Western Balkans, but for Europe as a whole as well.
“Montenegro is a credible European and Euro-Atlantic partner, and the European Commission’s Country Report shows that the country is an example of visible compatibility between these two processes,” Minister Pejanović-Đurišić pointed out.
Ms Hepher stated that Montenegro’s progress towards the Euro-Atlantic path confirms the quality and importance of NATO open-door policy.
“Democracy is a strong process which requires focused and dedicated work, and Montenegro has demonstrated its willingness to be a reliable partner and participate in maintaining the collective security,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State John Hepher underscored.
Source: Government of Montenegro