NATO Warsaw Summit Should Invite Macedonia, Montenegro to Join - Polish DefMin
NATO should invite Macedonia and Montenegro to join when it holds its next summit in Poland in July of next year, Polish Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak has said.
"It would be excellent news if the invitations could be sent from (the NATO summit in) Warsaw to Macedonia and Montenegro," Reuters quoted Siemoniak as saying at a conference in Wroclaw, Poland on Friday.
According to Siemoniak, if “deprived of this element”, the summit “will not bring full satisfaction to many nations, including Poland."
The two southeast European states both want to join the Western military alliance, of which their regional neighbours Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Slovenia and Romania are already part. An invitation to join NATO is likely to meet strong opposition from Moscow which has perceived the bloc’s eastward expansion since the end of the Cold war as a threat to Russia’s security.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last year that NATO’s Balkan expansion to Macedonia and Montenegro could be seen as a provocation.
Siemoniak spoke a day after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that Montenegro will have to increase its public support for NATO and strengthen the rule of law before it can join the alliance.
According to opinion polls, public support for NATO has never exceeded 40 percent in the country which is deeply divided between its traditional links with Russia and aspirations to become member of the alliance, AP said.
Speaking after meeting Montenegro’s Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic in Podgorica, Stoltenberg said that Montenegro's membership bid is in "the crucial phase".
“We re-confirm that we are ready to make the decision by the end of the year at our foreign ministerial meeting in December,” Stoltenberg said.
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