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Historic moment: Montenegro joins NATO as 29th member state

Historic moment: Montenegro joins NATO as 29th member state
Published date 05.06.2017 19:30 | Author PR Service

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PR Service

Washington, USA (5 June 2017) -- Montenegro has become a formal member of the North Atlantic Alliance after depositing the NATO accession document in the US State Department Headquarters in Washington.

"Since this day, 5 June 2017, we are an ally that will enjoy the benefits provided by the collective system of security, with major responsibility to continue, together with you, unwaveringly and committedly, to walk towards durable peace, stability and security of Europe and the world," Prime Minister of Montenegro Duško Marković said at the ceremony which took place in the State Department.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Srđan Darmanović deposited the document – instrument of accession – on behalf of Montenegro to Under Secretary of State of the United States Thomas Shannon.

Prime Minister highlighted that this is historic event for a country and a nation which endured enormous sacrifices in the 19th and 20th centuries in order to defend their right to a free life; the right to decide on our own future; the right to be recognized by the world under our own name and with our national symbols.

"We are celebrating today the fact that it will never happen again that someone else decides for us and our state, behind our back, as it was the case in the past," PM Marković highlighted.

US Under Secretary Shannon commended Montenegro for using its own sovereign right to chose to which alliance it will belong to, adding that everyone contributed to Montenegro's path towards NATO.

"The promise of membership has advanced democratic values and respect for the rule of law. It meant that difficult reforms had to be implemented, and that's exactly what Montenegro has done allowing it to become NATO member state today. We are also thankful that Montenegro has taken over financial obligations arising from the NATO membership," Mr Shannon emphasised.

He added that Montenegro has been a reliable partner in NATO missions, also voicing gratitude to the contribution made by Collation fighting against Islamic State.

NATO door remains open

US Under Secretary Shannon highlighted that NATO door remains open to all countries which are meeting demanding criteria for the membership in the Alliance.

PM Marković stressed that Montenegro will be a strong advocate and partner in Alliance’s refocusing on the Western Balkans and further integration of the countries of the region into NATO: "I firmly believe that this is a historic day for NATO, too. Facing the new and grave challenges, the Alliance is admitting the 29th member, showing crystal clear that the open door policy is alive – and that it works well – as a beacon of hope to all of those who want to share its values and standards," PM Marković outlined.

Stoltenberg: Montenegro is bringing courage and commitment

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attended the ceremony in Washington and wished Montenegro a warm welcome to the Alliance of the most developed countries in the world:

"Today, Montenegro joins NATO with a seat at the table as an equal. Montenegro is bringing the courage and commitment of its people to NATO," Stoltenberg stressed, adding that commitment to the Alliance should be strong among all member states.

The first man of the Alliance said that Montenegro's accession to NATO is good not only for the stability of the country, but also for the stability of the entire Balkans.

"By joining NATO, Montenegro is sending a signal to other states that they can become NATO member states if they're committed to implementing reforms," Secretary General Stoltenberg said welcoming Montenegro in Montenegrin: "Dobrodošla Crna Goro".

PM Marković: Montenegro will know how to prove that it is a trustworthy partner

The Prime Minister thanked Secretary General Stoltenberg, as well as the US and its top officials who helped Montenegro to experience this historic day.

"From the moment of reinstatement of our relations back in 2006, the United States has been a staunch, reliable and precious partner of Montenegro in achieving the vision of a Euro-Atlantic and European country. That is also a confirmation of something that has never been questioned – that Americans remain committed to the stability and security of the Western Balkans and Europe. We are very grateful to the NATO and esteemed Secretary-General who is with us today," PM Marković said.

Montenegro will know how to prove that it is a trustworthy partner, Prime Minister Marković emphasised. As an ally, Montenegro will continue working reinvigorated towards that goal.

"So as to reach the standard allocation of 2 per cent of the GDP for the defence budget by 2024 and to develop a national plan by the end of this year, because we believe that equitable burden sharing is important for the functioning of the Alliance," the Prime Minister said, adding that Montenegro will be contributing to the NATO deterrence and defense policy, counter-terrorism, projecting stability as well as to overseas operations and missions.

Message to Montenegrin citizens: Let us unite

PM Marković said that it is a big day for Montenegro and its citizens: "Membership in NATO means permanent stability for us and opportunity for further prosperity of our society".

The Prime Minister also had a message for Montenegrin citizens.

"Let us unite and let us seize the opportunity to make Montenegro a better country where people will live better lives; with even higher level of democracy, rule of law and equal opportunities for all. We primarily owe it to ourselves. But we also owe it to our allies who understood and supported, acknowledged and accepted a small Balkan country as an equal partner. Let us be wise, for the sake of our future, as much as we were brave in our heroic past," the Prime Minister concluded.

Remarks by the Prime Minister of Montenegro Duško Marković at the Ceremony of depositing instruments of ratification of the North Atlantic Treaty can be downloaded here