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, is coming to Podgorica on Wednesday on a two-day official visit to discuss Montenegro's aspiration to become full member of the Atlantic Alliance.
Ahead of NATO’s September summit in Wales, the government is confident that the Alliance is close to admitting it to membership.
Months of verbal warfare between local watchdog MANS and Montenegro's ruling party Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, ahead of May’s local elections in the capital, peaked on Wednesday with mutual accusations about scandals, abuse of state resources and corruption.
Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, head of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, said the struggle to seek control of Podgorica will be "the toughest election battle" his party has faced since the independence referendum back in 2006.
The Russian daily newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta has reported that Moscow plans to abolish its visa-free regime and trade preferences with Montenegro.
The Gazeta is the Kremlin's official daily newspaper, which publishes decrees, statements and documents of Russian state bodies.
Russia's Foreign Ministry on Monday expressed “deep disappointment” about Milo Djukanovic's recent "hostile statements at the expense of Russia".
"Montenegro has achieved progress in pursuing reforms and standards within the integration processes, particularly in the field of security, rule of law and strengthening of the public support for NATO integration," Biden said on Tuesday after meeting Montenegro's Prime Minister, Milo Djukanovic.
The protest was organised by Albanian opposition parties, the Democratic Forum for Integration and the Democratic Alliance.
They claim that the government has been "abusing and discriminating against" local Albanians in Tuzi, where they form the majority community.
A coalition of NGOs called "No to War, No to NATO", have called a protest for Friday in Podgorica’s main square, aiming to send "a clear message" that Montenegro should not join the alliance.
Organisers said people should raise their voices against the "aggressive and criminal policy of the alliance.
In an open letter sent to US Vice President Joseph Biden on Tuesday, timed to coincide with his expected meeting with Djuknovic on April 8, the signatories of the letter told Biden that Milo Djukanovic represents "the antithesis of democracy, rule of law and the fundamental values of Western civilization.