November 12, 2012

Prague, President of Montenegro at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
Vujanović: NATO is the best guarantee of long-term stability and security

In his address at the plenary session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, held in Prague, President of Montenegro Filip Vujanović pointed out that Montenegro would remain committed to the full membership in the NATO, because the collective security system is the only guarantee for long-term stability of the Balkan region. “That is the prerequisite for attraction of foreign investments and economic development”, stated the President, adding that Montenegro would continue to be a close ally to the North-Atlantic Alliance.

“I wish to point out that the new Government will continue with meeting all the international obligations towards our allies. Full NATO membership will remain our foreign policy priority. Our new communication strategy is directed towards strengthening of the role of Parliament and increased support of the public opinion for the membership of our state in the NATO”, he said.

President Vujanović positively commented on the fact that the topic of enlargement and future of the Alliance was incorporated as one of the central topics of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly session, and expressed his expectation that Montenegro would receive in the first next NATO summit the invitation for full membership in the North-Atlantic Alliance.

He reminded that as of December 2009, Montenegro has been in the Membership Action Plan.

“Today, almost three years later, Montenegro presented its third annual national programme and started the third MAP cycle, scored high marks for the reforms achieved in the defense sector, improved its security capacities and initiated a systemic reorganization of intelligence services according to the NATO standards. We are proud of our soldiers who participate with their knowledge and skills in the ISAF Mission to Afghanistan and peacekeeping missions in Liberia, Operation ATALANTA and Cyprus”, said President Vujanović.

President said that Montenegro and the Balkans need NATO, so that our region would become a durably safe and stable area.

“After the tragedy in the Balkans caused by the dissolution of former Yugoslavia in the 90s, after hundreds of thousands of killed people and several million refugees, it is clear that the collective security system is the only guarantee for a long-term stability in the Balkan region”, said the Montenegrin President.

“We do not have and do not know of a better and more efficient security system than NATO”, said the President.

“That is why most leaders from our region see the NATO as a guarantee of security for their states. Furthermore, I believe that our generation of political leaders has the obligation and a unique chance to make the Balkans forever safe, through active and full membership in the NATO”, President Vujanović emphasized.

According to his words, only by enlargement of NATO into the Western Balkans will the dream of a “united and peaceful Europe” become a reality.

“For Montenegro, it is an important fact that about 300 km of our Mediterranean coast is the only part of the Adriatic outside the NATO security shield. We have close cooperation with the NATO member countries, including the cooperation with the Navy and Coast Guards of Italy, Croatia and Albania. We regularly participate at the regional military and navy exercises which improve our training, capacities and communications in case of climate hazards and security risks. However, it is clear that only full membership can guarantee us security and the capacity for overcoming the 21st century security risks”, said President Vujanović.

Montenegrin President pointed out that membership in the NATO brings stability, which is very important for attraction of foreign investments and economic growth.

“In the conditions of the global economic crisis, the instability of economies is becoming one of the key challenges to security of every country. Market globalization has made us interdependent and connected, while the long-term uncertainty particularly affects the small economic systems such as Montenegro. In such conditions, the trans-Atlantic cooperation within NATO brings additional transparency and security for the markets. This is very important for the attraction of foreign investments and overall economic development of our country”, President Vujanović pointed out.

“Whatsoever, I believe that in the current circumstances, when it comes to the Balkans, the importance of compatibility and conditionality of the NATO and EU integration processes is more expressed than in other parts of the Eastern Europe”, he said.

Speaking of the importance of Montenegro for NATO, President Vujanović pointed out that at this moment our state is the leader in the Western Balkans region as regards the Euro-Atlantic integration processes.

“Although a young country, Montenegro has already been recognized as a country of political and economic stability. It is a regional partner who knows how to handle the challenges to peace and stability, to manage the processes of dynamic reforms, economic integrations and sustainable development”, he pointed out.

President Vujanović reminded that the EU recently adopted the decision to open the accession negotiations with Montenegro and start the integration, as well as that there is an unequivocal consensus of the entire society and all the parliamentary parties in Montenegro regarding the key issues imposed in the demanding process of economic integration.

As the second reason why Montenegro matters tot eh NATO, he stated that our country had demonstrated in the past that it is a partner on whom the allies can rely at all times.

President Vujanović added that the military budget of Montenegro currently amounts 1.5% of the gross domestic product, and that our state plans to increase it as of 2014 on, and that there is a clear plan for modernization of the Montenegrin army.

“Support of the public opinion to the NATO in Montenegro is stable with the tendency of slight increase. Our strategy in the upcoming period will be directed towards the undecided part of our population, with an effort to help them through informing and interaction to develop the trust and knowledge of the NATO membership advantages”, he stated.

According to his words, the humanitarian assistance received through the NATO central during the weather hazards last year as a significant contribution in that sense.

“I hope that all the above mentioned provides the strong and convincing recommendations for Montenegro as a small state with its special skills and potential, its credibility of a peaceful democracy, to represent an added value for the NATO allies”, said President Vujanović.

He pointed out that Strengthening of the parliamentary cooperation would be very significant in further developing of partnership between Montenegro and NATO until reaching our ultimate goal – full membership.

“Your assistance will be precious to us, as well as your influence, so that the political leaders of your respective states would send the invitation to Montenegro at the next NATO Summit.

The Government of Montenegro and our Parliament will continue with implementation of the policies which will contribute to consolidation of mutual trust. In times of uncertainty and crisis, genuine and stable friendships are particularly valued. I wish to assure you that Montenegro will continue to be such a close ally to NATO and its members”, concluded President Vujanović.

NATO Secretary –General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Karl Lamers, and around 350 parliamentarians form the member countries and North-Atlantic Alliance Parliamentary Assembly partners took part at the meeting in Prague.

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