NATO Chief Urges Montenegro to Speed Reforms
NATO appreciates the efforts that Montenegro has made to meet the criteria for Alliance membership but strengthening the rule of law and security sector reform should be its priorities before it becomes a full member, NATO’s chief said on Wednesday.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the NATO Secretary General, arrived in Podgorica on Wednesday on a two-day official visit to discuss Montenegro’s aspiration to join the Atlantic Alliance.
The government in Podgorica hopes the Alliance will admit the small Adriatic state to membership at the upcoming summit in September in Wales.
On Wednesday, Rasmussen met Justice and Foreign Ministers Dusko Markovic and Igor Luksic, and on Thursday he was scheduled to meet Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.
Rasmussen said at the June ministerial meeting of NATO in Brussels that the allies would discuss a progress report on Montenegro. “The focus of the allies will be on the construction of an independent judiciary and compliance with the security standards of NATO,” he said.
Montenegro is currently conducting its fourth annual plan within the Membership Action Plan, MAP, which is regarded as a final step before joining the Alliance.
Public support for NATO membership remains relatively low, however, and NATO officials have urged the government to try to increase the level of support.
A group of twenty anti-NATO protesters verbally abused the NATO Secretary General in front of the hotel in Podgorica where he was dining with Foreign Minister Luksic.
While Rasmussen and his escort were approaching the hotel, the protesters led by journalist Marko Milacic shouted “Fascists!” while another held a banner “Your hands are bloody”.