Yesterday at the meeting in Brussels, 28 foreign ministers of NATO member countries unanimously supported the invitation for Montenegro to join the alliance, Joinfo.ua reports with the reference to the Guardian.
It can take 12-18 months for Montenegro to go through the process of joining and become the 29th member of the alliance.
NATO Air Forces bombed Montenegro 17 years ago, when it was part of Yugoslavia and involved in the conflict over Kosovo.
“Montenegro has come a long way on its path to join the Euro-Atlantic family,” the Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said on Monday. “Extending an invitation to Montenegro to start accession talks would be a historic decision. It would signal our continued commitment to the western Balkans.”
Such a decision of NATO will increase tension with Russia, and Moscow has repeatedly referred to the expansion of the alliance as a “provocation”.
It should be recalled that in November, during his visit to Stockholm, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that the organisation is stepping up its military presence in the Nordics, following rising Russian aggression.
Another irritating news for Russia was that the U.S., Canadian and Lithuanian servicemen came to Ukraine to participate in the international exercises of some 5,000 soldiers under a new program launched on November 23, near Lviv at the Yavoriv training ground.
Montenegrins themselves remain divided over joining.
Western officials believe it has fuelled anti-government protests in Montenegro in an attempt to derail the country’s membership bid. But its parliament has supported the decision and the government carried out reforms of its armed forces and defence ministry to enhance its eligibility.
Besides Montenegro, the other current candidates for Nato membership are Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia.