NATO Secretary General visits Montenegro and calls for Euro-Atlantic integration of the Western Balkans
The NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen visited Budva, Montenegro on Wednesday, 29th June 2011. During his visit, the Secretary General met with President Filip Vujanovic and with Prime Minister Igor Luksic.
They discussed progress made in the first year of Montenegro’s Membership Action Plan (MAP), the situation in the Western Balkans as well as NATO-led operations in Afghanistan and Libya. In a joint press conference with the Prime Minister, Mr. Rasmussen thanked Montenegro for substantial contributions to the Alliance’s operation in Afghanistan.
“Your troops do a great job and your contribution is also a testament to your commitment to international security and stability", he added.
The Secretary General also commended the participation of Montenegro in the Adriatic Charter initiative aimed at providing trainers to Afghanistan.
"Training and education of Afghan security forces is an essential part of our strategy to start handing over responsibility to the Afghans", he mentioned.
Mr. Rasmussen stressed that the joint Adriatic Charter initiative "is an excellent example of how we can produce security in the future”.
“In a time of economic austerity, we need to join efforts, cooperate and pool resources in order to make the most efficient use of resources", the Secretary General said.
Mr. Rasmussen also commended Montenegro for the constructive role it has played in promoting security and stability in the region.
"It is my vision to see all countries in the Western Balkans improve their relationship with NATO and the EU in the future", he emphasised.
The Secretary General praised the Government of Montenegro for "its efforts to reform the Montenegrin society."
“Your first year in the MAP process has been a great success. Montenegro has achieved a lot of progress in its reform process".
The Secretary General underlined that nevertheless "there is still some work yo do when it comes to fight against organised crime and corruption" and concluded: "I welcome the strong commitment of the Government to continue the reform work".
In his address to the Adriatic Charter Conference, the Secretary General urged the leaders of the region to focus on the common ground and the common good.
“My message to all the political leaders, of all the countries in this region, is clear. You are responsible for breaking with the past, and focusing on the future. For taking your countries forward. And into Europe and the Euro-Atlantic community of nations”, he said.