A discussion on NATO enlargement and admission of Montenegro as NATO member took place last Wednesday in the foreign policy committee of the US Senate.
As Dnevne Novine is reporting, during the discussion it was stated that the Senate recognised the democratic principles in Montenegro recommending it as the new Alliance’s member. The US State Departments Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Hoyt Brian Yee and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence Michael Carpenter testified during the discussion. They said they would contribute to the Senate adopting the Montenegro-NATO accession protocol. Ron Johnson, presiding over the foreign affairs committee, said NATO decided to invite Montenegro to join it after eight years of its reform efforts and fight against organised crime and corruption, during which Montenegro was committed to the adoption of NATO values. He pointed out that Russia tried to stop Montenegro’s accession to NATO, but that it did not succeed. Hoyt Yee said it was clear that Montenegro belonged in NATO and that during the years of negotiations with the alliance our country made serious steps and came to its door. “Montenegro’s accession to NATO will have a positive impact not only for the state but also for the other Balkan countries, as well as for NATO, which Montenegro’s presence would significantly contribute to. By its commitment and support to NATO efforts, Montenegro will significantly improve future NATO operations”, Hoyt Yee said. He pointed out that Montenegro made “serious steps in the fight against organised crime and corruption”, noting that setting up the Special Prosecutor's Office was particularly important in this process. “Montenegro also contributes to NATO by participating in all the important missions of the Alliance, such as those in Afghanistan, Somalia, Cyprus... After the Senate ratifies the protocol, Montenegro will officially be a full member of the alliance and its partner in all important tasks”, Hoyt Yee said. Michael Carpenter recognised all those democracy principles that are necessary for accession. “Ten years after restoring its independence, Montenegro is a stable multi-ethnic country that has implemented serious reforms in the security sector, the rule of law and institution building. Montenegro has a stable armed forces, transformed according to NATO standards”, the US Senator said. He also commented on Russia’s attempts to influence Montenegro's commitment to NATO. “It is no secret that Russia openly opposed Mοntenegro's membership in NATO and has taken active measures to make the opposition stop this process. Nevertheless, Montenegro has shown that its NATO path does not represent a foreign policy threat against Russia”, he said. No one has the right to interfere “Mοntenegro's membership in NATO will be a strong response to Russia's attempts to influence these processes. They showed that there are no third countries with the right to interfere with NATO decisions, but that countries choose their own destiny”, Carpenter said. Through all the reforms that were carried out, Mοntenegro showed that it is ready for NATO. Therefore, as he said, he would recommend ratifying the agreement in the Senate as soon as possible in order for Mοntenegro could stand shoulder to shoulder with all the other 28 member states.