Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said in Budva on Saturday she would personally advocate the ratification of Montenegro's protocol on association with NATO in the Croatian parliament as soon as possible.

"I am confident the Croatian Parliament will ratify the protocol as soon as possible, and I will personally advocate that," Grabar-Kitarovic said.

She underscored that in her opinion the issue of Prevlaka should not be an obstacle for Croatia to ratify the protocol.

"We agreed to proceed with this process. A temporary regime has been functioning since 2003, it is time for us to resolve this issue," Grabar-Kitarovic told the press in Budva.

According to her, Montenegro's membership of NATO and the EU was very important to Croatia as membership would strengthen the borders, saying that the membership invitation to Montenegro was an exceptional signal and a message to everyone.

Congratulating Montenegro on getting invited to join NATO, Grabar-Kitarovic said that the country now must think of an accession strategy.

Grabar-Kitarovic, together with Slovenian President Borut Pahor and Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic, on Saturday took part in a panel debate of the To Be Secure (2BS) Forum.

Asked if Croatia was blocking Serbia's Euro-Atlantic integration process, Grabar-Kitarovic said Croatia was not blocking anyone, including Serbia.

"Croatia is not blocking Serbia, but is asking Serbia to respect international standards regarding minority rights, including the rights of the Croatian minority," Grabar-Kitarovic said.

Slovenian President Pahor said that NATO member countries have a responsibility in the region to cooperate more, adding that they must do everything to prevent security problems in Western.

"We respect Serbia's decision not to apply for membership of NATO with which it cooperates, but we also respect Montenegro's decision to apply. It is important that Bosnia and Herzegovina applies for NATO membership and its application would mean a better security in the region," Pahor said.

He announced Slovenia would ratify the protocol on Montenegro's admission into NATO in June.

"It is important that all 28 EU members do that as soon as possible, as the security situation is changing and deteriorating," Pahor warned, pointing to problems in Ukraine, the Middle East, northern Africa.

Montenegrin President Vujanovic said it was important that his country joined NATO as soon as possible in order to prove that reforms are accepted, respected and valued, expressing confidence all member state would soon ratify the accession protocol.

"This is a sensitive period with many global challenges, but also a period in which the enlargement policy proves to be an adequate response to those global challenges," Vujanovic said.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.