Montenegro Hires Orion to Push NATO Case


News
07 Apr 15

Montenegro Hires Orion to Push NATO Case

Montenegro has signed up the firm Orion Strategies to lobby decision-makers in the US over its stalled NATO membership bid.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN

Podgorica

Montenegro has agreed a contract with the Washingron-based firm Orion Strategies for it to advocate Montenegro’s NATO membership bid, according to a US Department of Justice filing.

The firm will provide strategic communications, PR, and advocacy around issues and news relating to Montenegro in the US and Europe and the country’s bid for membership of the alliance.

Orion Strategies will received $150,000 for services delivered over the 12-month period ending on February 1, 2016.

The government in Podgorica sees 2015 as crucial year after its bid to join NATO received a setback last September at the summit in Wales.

Alliance members then decided against inviting the country to join, saying they would reconsider Montenegro’s case in 2015.

Documents filed last week by Orion Strategies with the Foreign Agents Registration Unit of the US Justice Department, reported that the fim will provide Montenegro with counseling services, guidelines and support to strategic communications, public relations and backing before US decision-makers.

“Orion Strategies will also advise Montenegro’s government in approaching key policy figures in the US executive, with the focus on the State Department and White House,” the contract provides.

The firm was founded and led by Randy Scheunemann, who served as a senior foreign policy adviser to Republican politician John McCain in his 2008 US presidential bid.

Macedonia, Latvia, Romania and Taiwan are among the other countries for whom Orion has provided lobbying services in recent years.

NATO remains a controversial issue in Montenegro on account of the alliance’s role in kicking Serbian forces out of the former Serbian province of Kosovo in 1999.

The mainly Albanian ex-province declared independence in 2008 and ethnic Serbs – and others – in Montenegro remain resentful of NATO’s role in the conflict.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)