Croatia supports Montenegro's progress towards NATO and Zagreb will be among the first countries to ratify Montenegro's accession to the Alliance, visiting Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac said in Podgorica on Friday.

"This is important for Montenegro as well as for its neighbours because security and stability are prerequisites for sustainable economic and social progress," Kovac said after his talks with his Montenegrin counterpart Igor Luksic.

He added that Montenegro could count on Croatia's support on its journey towards the European Union, too.

We would like to continue developing economic relations with Montenegro and resume talks on the future Adriatic-Ionian motorway, this is in the interest of both countries and their respective tourism industries, Kovac said.

Regardless of the unsolved issue of the border demarcation on the peninsula of Prevlaka, the Croatia-Montenegro relations can serve as an example of good neighbourly relations, according to him.

The fact that we haven't yet determined the border is nothing unusual, there are many countries in the world that have not yet determined their borders and coexist normally and this is also the case of Croatia and Montenegro, the Croatian minister said, adding that bilateral political consultations that would be soon held would deal with this issue.

"We will try to define the border at our bilateral talks, negotiations, and if we don't succeed, we will seek solutions at international institutions. It is most important that we have the good will and that our citizens do not suffer due to undefined borders," the Croatian minister said.

Montenegrin Foreign Minister Luksic said that the Croatian official and he had agreed that it was important to have open, constructive and friendly talks about the border demarcation issue, adding that the two sides are willing to embrace the most pragmatic solution.

Luksic expressed satisfaction with Croatia's strong support to his country on its European and Euro-Atlantic journey.

The Montenegrin minister pointed out that Kovac was paying an official visit to Montenegro in the first weeks after taking office, which Luksic also interpreted as Kovac's commitment to a policy of good neighbourly relations.

Asked by reporters about the exploration and exploitation of gas and oil in Croatia's Adriatic region and about the effects on the environment, Kovac said that the Croatian government paid attention to environment protection, adding that the exploration of gas and oil "is now put aside as possible investors have pulled out."

Later on Friday, Kovac is due to visit ethnic Croat communities in the Montenegrin coastal area.

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