Stoltenberg: NATO welcomes Montenegro’s progress, Đukanović: NATO and EU door should be open to entire region

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    Brussels, Belgium (15 April 2015) — NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said earlier today at a meeting with Montenegro’s Prime Minister Milo Đukanović at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels that NATO maintains its open door policy when it comes to Montenegro. He noted that the reforms implemented by Montenegro are substantial and they represent “real progress towards membership in NATO.”

    “You have repeatedly shown that you share our values,” said the Secretary General of NATO at today’s joint press conference with Prime Minister Đukanović.

    PM Đukanović voiced pleasure over the assessment that Montenegro is a positive example and the country which has taken a leading role in the Western Balkans in terms of quality and intensity of reforms”,as well as that Montenegro “has been encouraged by the fact that NATO remains committed to open-door policy and that it acknowledges all the work Montenegro has done in the previous period.”

    “We will continue to be a NATO partner in the region, promoter of Euro-Atlantic values in this part of Europe, and I believe we will become a full member of the alliance in a few months,” said the Prime Minister of Montenegro.

    Both sides stressed that Montenegro and NATO are in a phase of intensive and focused dialogue and that the decision on inviting Montenegro to join NATO will be reached at a foreign ministers’ meeting at the end of the year in line with the conclusion adopted at last year’s NATO Summit in Cardiff. It was emphasised that the focus remains on the four key areas, whereas, as Prime Minister Đukanović stated, at this moment intensive efforts are being invested in strenghtening the rule of law and increasing public support for Montenegro’s membership.

    The Prime Minister also said that he took this opportunity to inform the Secretary General of NATO about Montenegro’s vision of the progress which has been made.

    “I took this opportunity to inform the Secretary General about the results we achieved on these issues and, at the same time, to convey my and Montenegro’s optimism that in the months to come we will surely meet the expectations of our NATO partners, and that we will be able, on the eve of the ministerial meeting at the end of year, to announce that we are ready to resume responsibilities of a new NATO member state,” the Prime Minister underscored.

    Speaking about situation in the Western Balkans, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg referred to Montenegro as “the champion of regional cooperation”, while Prime Minister Đukanović pledged to continue the open door policy of NATO and the European Union towards the region.

    “I informed the Secretary General about the importance of NATO enlargement policy, primarily in the Western Balkans. We believe that the issue of stability remains a key challenge for the Western Balkan and we also believe that the integration is another name for stability of the region. Therefore, we believe it is critical to continue the open-door policy of both NATO and the European Union, and to provide pro-reform governments and pro-reform public, not only in our country but in the region as a whole, with timely and clear support to continue pursuing comprehensive reforms in order to create conditions not only for the accession, but for better quality of life of people in our region and its essential integration into European civilisation of the 21st century, ” Montenegro’s Prime Minister Milo Đukanović told the press conference in Brussels.

    NATO Secretary General thanked Montenegro for its financial and operational support for the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

    Prime Minister of Montenegro also spoke this afternoon at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC).

    For full NATO Secretary General’s statement please click the video section above.

    Source: Government of Montenegro