28 Oct 14
NATO Urges Montenegro to Stay on Track
Top NATO general praises the progress of Montegegro’s military reforms – but says the link between the military and the decision-makers needs clarifying.
Danish General Knud Bartels, Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, said on Monday that Montenegro and other Western Balkan countries joining the alliance would be including themselves in the most powerful military alliance in world history.
After meeting Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic and Defence Minister Milica Pejanovic Djurisic, Bartels said the alliance was monitoring the progress of reforms in Montenegro’s armed forces, praising the participation of its troops in NATO-led operations in Afghanistan and Somalia.
The General spoke ahead of a meeting on Tuesday in Montenegro of the NATO Military Committee, the highest military body of the Western alliance, which chiefs of staff of the 28 member states will attend.
Although not a NATO member, the chief of the Montenegrin army will attend the meeting. Meanwhile, as a candidate for membership of the alliance since 2009, Montenegro is obliged to organise and structure its armed forces according to set principles.
“We have noticed a lot of positive things but several issues need to be addressed, clarifying some things in the relationship between the military and decision makers,” General Bartels remarked.
NATO decided against inviting Montenegro to join the military alliance at its summit in June, saying it would reconsider Montenegro’s case in 2015.
NATO officials have said Montenegro needs to secure the support of the majority of the public before it can join.
Defence Minister Pejanovic Djurisic on Monday said that the Montenegrin Army was determined to meet NATO standards.
The government meanwhile is working on public opinion, which remains in two minds over the issue. The country’s large Serbian community remains especially hostile to NATO as a result of NATO’s air war against Serbia in 1999.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)