by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the joint press point with the President of Montenegro, Filip Vujanović
Mr. President, it is indeed a great pleasure to welcome you to NATO headquarters.
Montenegro is an important partner for the Alliance and a strong aspirant to NATO membership.
And our talks today reflected the importance that we place on our political engagement. We discussed the progress being made in Montenegro’s reform agenda and the growing cooperation between NATO and Montenegro.
I commend your continued efforts to bring Montenegro into NATO and the European Union. And I congratulate Montenegro on the reforms you have already implemented.
Euro-Atlantic integration can be a challenging process. But it is worth the effort. It can be a long process. But it’s important to maintain the momentum of reforms, even at a time of economic difficulties.
So I encourage you to continue working on the challenges that we have identified together in the Membership Action Plan. Reinforcing the rule of law, fighting corruption and organised crime, finding the resources to modernise your armed forces, and explaining to your public the importance of Euro-Atlantic integration.
We also discussed NATO’s security agenda and our mission in Afghanistan. We are very grateful for Montenegro’s significant contribution, and for your pledge to help the Afghan security forces both financially and through the training mission that we are planning after 2014.
Montenegrin forces are offering force protection to our trainers in Mazar-e-Sharif. And together with other Adriatic nations, you successfully transitioned the programme of training for the Afghan Military Police in Kabul. You have worked closely with countries from your region to build stability in Afghanistan – and strengthen cooperation among yourselves.
Mr. President, we value Montenegro’s active contribution to cooperation and security in the Western Balkans. NATO’s commitment to the region is strong. We see your future in the Euro-Atlantic family and we are determined to help you along that path.