Walker: NATO will not force its decisions on Montenegro

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We are now convinced that Montenegro, its Government and institutions are establishing structures and we are happy that in the next few years the reforms will show concrete benefits for Montenegrin citizens and society as a whole, said NATO coordinator for expansion and officer for Balkans Laurie Walker, responding to questions within Facebook campaign “Q&A” NATO Montenegro – Safe future. He also said that NATO does not wish to impose its decisions to its members.

Laurie Walker used to work in the Department for Political Affairs and Safety Policies of NATO. Rule of law is one of the especially important areas for NATO, he said on May 15th for Facebook page and website Safe future.

He said he has been working with Montenegro since 2010, and that he has notices progress and many changes in the country.

“There are three areas that are of significance for NATO. Armed forces are clearly the most important area. We saw the Strategic Overview of Defense from 2013 change the Army and its conditions, its tasks and threats it faces, in order to improve the security of Montenegrin citizens. During the preparations for NATO, Montenegro’s Army did not only increased in size, but it became more professional, better trained, and better equipped. The Army has experience in working with NATO allies in military exercises and also on the field, in Afghanistan and operation Atlanta”, he said.

The second area are intelligence services that have been completely reconstructed during the preparations for the membership.

“A new legal framework is now in force, new people in responsible positions, new officials ready to face threats of 21st century, employees with knowledge of language and IT skills that are much needed today”, he added.

The third area of importance is the rule of law, which is also important for EU, “which does not surprise because NATO and EU have much in common”.

According to him, solidarity and consensus are NATO’s foundation.

“Montenegro is joining a big organization and it will get the best possible guarantee of safety. Meaning of Article 5 that speaks of collective defense is Everyone for the one, one for the everyone, and it is a saying we apply in NATO. The solidarity and help are not only available in difficult situations, but during the natural disasters that fall out of frame of violent conflicts”, Walker added.

Ministers of Foreign Affairs of NATO will sign the Accession Protocol on May 19th, thus starting two separate processes.

“The first process is the ratification of the Protocol by 28 members of NATO. When this is done, Montenegro will be invited to join Washington Agreement and become a member of NATO. Parallel to the process of ratification, Montenegro will get a status of an observer, a part of the slow process of integration starting on May 19th. This means that Montenegrin politicians, diplomats and soldiers will be able to attend NATO meetings, discuss questions on the schedule. Montenegro will not be able to participate in the decision making until it is a full member, and the ratification process is over”, Walker explained.

He said that NATO provides just allocation of its budget among members.

“Montenegrin economy makes 0.027% of total NATO economy and this is the percent that it will pay to NATO, which is around 450.000 EUR on a yearly basis. This is the price of one good apartment on Montenegrin coast. I think that this money will provide a very good and cheap deal for Montenegro”, Walker said.

When asked whether NATO will make military bases on Montenegro’s territory or make any similar decisions regardless of the preferences of our country, Walker responded with a no.

“NATO can not and will not impose its decisions to its members. As I said before, consensus is the foundation of what NATO is and how it works. There is no NATO army, all member together make NATO. We work together using the fact that we are a group of countries that share values, principles and interests when it comes to safety of our citizens. That means that consensus is not hard to reach, despite the large number of members. NATO will not force any decisions on Montenegro. NATO is a gathering of independent countries, so no building military bases unless the country asks for it. The country is not obliged to participate in operations if it does not want to . If it does decide to do so, it is up to the country to decide when, where and with what resources to participate. As I said, consensus is the key, nothing can be imposed, everyone works together in NATO”, Walker concluded.

Action “Q&A” was introduced as a new means of communication with citizens by the Communication team of Council for NATO membership. So far, national NATO coordinator, ambassador Vesko Garčević and Vice Presidents of the Parliament Milutin Simović and Suljo Mustafić have taken part in the action.

Source: Cafe Del Montenegro