NATO Reportedly Invites Montenegro To Join Military Alliance; ‘This Is The Beginning Of A Very Beautiful Alliance’
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced Wednesday that they have invited Balkan country Montenegro to join their military alliance, defying Russia's warning against the move. BBC reported Dec. 2 the stability in the western Balkans will be at risk due to NATO's decision to invite Montenegro.
Reports have revealed that the move serves as NATO's first expansion into eastern Europe ever since Albania and Croatia joined the alliance in 2009.
"We congratulate Montenegro," said Stoltenberg, as noted by RT. "This is the beginning of a very beautiful alliance."
The NATO secretary-general also clarified that the invitation "had nothing to do with Russia," however, diplomats have said the move simply says Russia cannot veto NATO's expansion.
Russia's presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said people should wait for the official statement of President Vladimir Putin regarding NATO's invitation to Montenegro.
"The president [of Russia] has not made public his opinion on the matter yet," Peskov said. "Let's wait for official statements from the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the president rather than expert options."
On the other hand, Montenegro's aspiration to join NATO earned support from the United States. The White House reportedly said in a dispatch September that the US "supports Montenegro's membership in NATO provided that Montenegro continues pursuing reforms and boosts popular support [of] NATO accession."
The statement also said "membership in NATO would firmly anchor Montenegro in Euro-Atlantic institutions, promote greater regional stability in the Balkans, and demonstrate the credibility of NATO's "Open Door" policy."
Meanwhile, NATO wrote on its official website Wednesday: "Montenegro aspires to join NATO and the Allies have invited the country to begin accession talks to join the Alliance. Support for democratic, institutional, security sector and defence reforms are a key focus of cooperation."
NATO continued, "The country actively supports the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan and works with the Allies and other partner countries in many other areas."