Bartels: Montenegrin membership in NATO a political issue

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Podgorica, May 6, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Adnan Prekic

Euro-Atlantic integration is the best way to ensure long-term, self-sustaining security and stability in the region, said the senior official of NATO, the President of the Military Committee of the Alliance Knud Bartels. A senior official of NATO believes that Montenegro’s entry into NATO is a purely political issue. Defence reform and security sector remain key elements of cooperation. Alliance as a whole and individual allies have considerable expertise which country can rise in this field. Allies also support the wider democratic, institutional and judicial reform processes in Montenegro.

A senior official of NATO, the President of the Military Committee of the Alliance, Knud Bartels said that the Allies are committed to maintain an open door policy for the partners from the Western Balkans. In an interview for the Montenegrin web portal “Analytics”, Bartels stated that Montenegro has made progress when it comes to key areas that are a prerequisite for joining NATO, stressing that it is a purely political issue when Montenegro will be invited to join.

Allies are committed to keep the door open for partners from the Western Balkans who want to join the Alliance and to share its values, who have the willingness and ability to assume the responsibilities and obligations of a membership in NATO. And, as already mentioned, the Euro-Atlantic integration is the best way to ensure a long-term, self-sustaining security and stability in the region, says Bartels.

The expansion of NATO and the European Union was a great success. By entering NATO Montenegro will be with its two most important neighbors, Croatian and Albania – which are members of the Alliance, and beyond, along with Slovenia. All three countries are geographically close and have close relations with Montenegro. Therefore Montenegro will join the “Port of stability”, because it will have a credible collective defence, shared values, shared responsibility and therefore a more stable future, but, it should be a choice of Montenegro.

Speaking about the situation in Ukraine and strained relations between the NATO and Russia, Bartels points out that there is no doubt that the situation in Ukraine is a source of great concern. “Russian actions have undermined the very foundations of European security architecture. These methods remain a flagrant breach of international obligations. Through their actions, Russia has chosen to isolate itself. Russian aggressive actions directly affect the security of the Alliance. That is why NATO took defensive measures, not to threaten Russia, but to ensure the defense of our allies. Russia, in fact, has a choice – to be part of a peaceful solution, or to continue on the path of escalation and isolation”, said the Danish general.

Source: Independent Balkan News Agency (Montenegro)