Secretary-General Stoltenberg in Podgorica: Joining Euro-Atlantic family is win-win for both Montenegro and NATO
Prime Minister Milo Đukanović and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg held a joint press conference in Podgorica earlier today, marking the end of the North Atlantic Council’s two-day visit to Montenegro.
Speaking of his discussions with top Montenegrin officials, NATO Secretary-General said they were very fruitful and that NATO foreign ministers will decide whether to invite Montenegro to join the Alliance in less than two months’ time.
“Montenegro is an important partner for the Alliance and NATO relationship with Montenegro is strong and deep. You are a strong aspirant for membership and champion of regional cooperation and we value your contribution to the international security,” Secretary-General Stoltenberg emphasised.
Secretary-General Stoltenberg explained that Montenegro has already introduced substantial reforms and made a great progress in strengthening the rule of law.
“Full implementation of the reforms is a key and demands a strong commitment, but it can be done. Montenegro is taking the right steps and I encourage you to further build public support for membership,” he pointed out.
“Joining the Euro-Atlantic family is a win-win for Montenegro and for NATO and I encourage you to continue your reform efforts, so that Montenegro can move forward towards Euro-Atlantic integration,” Secretary-General Stoltenberg underlined at the Podgorica press conference.
A wide range of discussions we have had with the North Atlantic Council and Secretary-General Stoltenberg concentrated on the analysis of the achievements in the areas of particular importance for meeting NATO membership standards, namely the rule of law and public support, Prime Minister of Montenegro Milo Đukanović said.
“I want to share with you the impression of the North Atlantic Council and Secretary-General Stoltenberg that Montenegro has continued a good pace of reforms. Our earlier achievements in instructional and legislative fields resulted in the creation of the first solid track record in the rule of law. Furthermore, the public support for joining NATO has been significantly increased,” PM Đukanović underlined.
“It is important to ensure the continuation of reforms by December and afterwards. We have many reasons for optimism that in such an atmosphere we will be able to achieve our goals,” Montenegro’s Prime Minister highlighted.
According to PM Đukanović, the NAC officials underlined Montenegro’s contribution to boosting regional cooperation, as it is critical for the entire region to go through the process of integration.
“In such a way we can contribute to the creation of conditions for economic development and we agreed that Montenegro can be a leader in that field and a role-model for other countries,” Prime Minister noted.
The NAC and Secretary-General Stoltenberg expressed respect for Montenegro’s quite impressive contribution to NATO, as well as to EU and UN missions worldwide, given its size and population, PM Đukanović underscored.
“It is a reflection of our understanding of our responsibility not only for our national stability, but for the regional and the international stability and security as well, and we are ready to continue in the same spirit tomorrow, we hope, as allies within the Alliance,” he added.
“I am very optimistic that we will manage to achieve our goal and that our committed efforts will contribute in the months to come to reaching a decision on extending a NATO invitation to Montenegro,” Prime Minister concluded.