NATO Invites Montenegro to Join Alliance

NATO has formally invited Montenegro to join the military alliance as the 29th member of its organization.

It is the first expansion of NATO in six years and has already prompted a backlash from Russia, who calls the move a threat to their own national security.

“Moscow has always noted at various levels that the continuing expansion of NATO and NATO’s military infrastructure to the East can only lead to responsive actions from the East, namely from the Russian side, in ensuring security interests and supporting the parity of interests,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has stated, according to the TASS news agency.

The decision, described by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as "historic", comes 16 years after the alliance bombed Montenegro during the Kosovo war, when it was still part of Yugoslavia.

Stoltenberg announced the invitation of Wednesday, the culmination of a process that began in 2009. The mountainous Adriatic state, with only 650,000 people has a very small military of around 2000 active members.

Accession talks are expected to take about a year to complete.

Montenegro already supports NATO’s efforts in Afghanistan and has actively cooperated with the alliance in other ways.

NATO expects Montenegro to make progress on reforms “especially in the area of rule of law.” During accession talks NATO says it will engage Montenegro in alliance activities.

Apart from Montenegro, three other countries are partnering with NATO and are interested in becoming members: Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia.

02 December 2015 17:45