US envoy travels to Montenegro to support its EU bid as war in Ukraine rages on

US Special Representative to the Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar speaks during a joint press conference after talks with Montenegro's Prime Minister Milojko Spajic in Montenegro's capital Podgorica, on Monday. [Risto Bozovic/AP]

A senior US official visited Montenegro Monday to offer support to the small Balkan nation seeking to join the European Union.

During a press conference in the capital Podgorica, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Gabriel Escobar said Montenegro should be next in line to join the 27-nation bloc.

"There is absolutely no doubt in our mind… (the) strategic goal of this country is to become (a) full EU member," said Escobar after talks with Prime Minister Milojko Spajic.

Six nations from the Western Balkan region - Albania, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia - are at different stages of the EU accession process following a period of wars and crises in the 1990s.

Escobar said EU enlargement has become a reality following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 which made US and EU officials more keen on trying to lure the six countries...

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