Montenegro replies to Russia: We decide on our own future in NATO

Montenegro has rejected the resolution by which Russia's Duma on Friday opposed Montenegro's NATO admission and warned Podgorica that its NATO entry could only have negative consequences on its tourism, investments and economic cooperation between the two countries, saying that it was Montenegro's right to decide on its own future and that its admission to NATO and the EU would contribute to a greater stability and a more dynamic development of the Western Balkans.

Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic said that European and Euro-Atlantic association were the only reliable path towards a greater stability and a more dynamic development of the Western Balkans and the fact that Russia was against NATO enlargement did not mean that Montenegro should adjust its national plans to accommodate that, adding that it was the right of every independent country to chose its own path to the future.

"We see that path as a path into European and Euro-Atlantic association. Our orientation towards NATO membership is nothing new or unexpected, but the result of a consistent policy. We believe this is the only reliable path towards a greater stability and a more dynamic development of the Western Balkans," Djukanovic told the press in Podgorica.

Only Serbian parties in Montenegro welcomed the resolution of the Russian Duma.

Russia on Thursday urged Montenegro to reconsider its NATO bid, assessing that Montenegro's membership would be "rash" and "seriously undermine the traditionally friendly relations" between the two countries, as well as bring into question "the complete work on the formation of an pan-European security architecture ". 

Moscow's message was delivered by Deputy Ambassador in Podgorica Vladimir Gurko, ahead of Friday's adoption of a Russian State Duma's document opposing the accession of Montenegro to NATO. 

Russia's request comes ahead of the meeting of the western military alliance's ministers in early December, when Montenegro should be invited to join NATO.

NATO is expected to decide at a meeting on Dec. 1-2 whether to formally invite Montenegro to join. The United States has backed Montenegro's bid, but Russia -- which has traditionally strong religious, cultural and historic influence in the Balkans -- has been opposed, fueling anti-NATO sentiments among some Montenegrins. Several protests by thousands in Montenegro against the pro-NATO government recently have turned violent.

Last update: Sat, 21/11/2015 - 14:04

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