NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told the Podgorica-based media on Monday that Montenegro had made great progress, notably in the rule of law, including the fight against organised crime and corruption, adding that new laws have been adopted and that now the emphasis is on their enforcement.
The process of joining NATO is not the end of the journey for Montenegro, but it is the beginning of a new phase. The process of joining is a new challenge and requires the continuation of reforms, including further strengthening of the rule of law and fight against corruption, Stoltenberg said.
He underscored that NATO membership was the matter of national interest and that it was extremely important for the Montenegrin public to be well informed about the country's responsibilities as well as of the benefits NATO membership brings.
Stoltenberg also said he expected NATO foreign ministers to sign Montenegro's accession protocol during a ministerial meeting set for 19-20 May in NATO headquarters in Brussels..
Once the protocol is signed, Montenegro will officially be invited to join NATO and it will take part in almost all meetings of the Alliance as an observer, he added.
Thus, Montenegro is on the verge of becoming the alliance's 29th member.