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Peoples Daily Online: Rumsfeld pledges U.S. support for Montenegro's NATO membership

Published date: 27.09.2006 16:39 | Author: Kliping inostranih medija

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U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld pledged on Tuesday in Podgorica that his country would give its full support for Montenegro's membership in NATO as well as its Partnership for Peace Program.

"We are ready to support Montenegro's aspirations to join NATO, " said Rumsfeld, who was on his first visit to Montenegro, which voted for independence in May 21 referendum and ended its state union with Serbia.

After meeting with Montenegro's President Filip Vujanovic and Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, Rumsfeld told a press conference in the capital Podgorica that Montenegrins would participate in NATO's peace missions abroad, but said it would be decided later whether they would go to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The newly re-elected Djukanovic told the press that Montenegro was prepared to sign an agreement on the "status of forces" to "support the coalition led by the United States in the struggle against terrorism and to participate in international peacekeeping missions."

Djukanovic said that Montenegro was interested in deepening its cooperation with the United States in the military, defense and economic spheres.

Rumsfeld's trip also includes a stop in Albania for talks with defense officials from southeastern European countries. Later in the week, he will attend an informal meeting of NATO defense ministers in Slovenia.