by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at joint press conferenc with the Prime Minister of Montenegro, Milo Đjukanović
Hello Prime Minister Djukanovic,
Thank you so much for your great hospitality and on behalf of all the 28 ambassadors from all the 28 NATO Allied countries I’d like to thank you for your hospitality. For two days with a very interesting informative program and many good meetings. And it’s good for me to back in Montenegro. I visited Montenegro in June and now I’m back with the whole North Atlantic Council representing all the 28 Allied countries.
And we have just finished two days of excellent discussions. On Montenegro’s membership aspirations. On the progress you made. And on what more remains to be done.
NATO’s relationship with Montenegro is strong and deep. You are an important partner for the Alliance. And Montenegro is a strong aspirant for membership.
Montenegro is a champion of regional cooperation. We value your contributions to international security. This is important in light of the security challenges we face from many different directions.
And you are providing troops to our training missions in Afghanistan. And you provide financial support to the Afghan Security Forces.
In addition you offered to also contribute to our mission in Kosovo, the KFOR NATO operation. So you contribute already a lot to NATO missions, to NATO activities and I both commend you and thank you for doing so.
In less than two months, NATO Foreign Ministers will decide whether to invite Montenegro to join the Alliance.
So our visit here to Podgorica and Montenegro comes at a critical time. Montenegro has already introduced substantial reforms. You have made important progress in strengthening the rule of law. And I encourage you to further build public support for membership.
Full implementation of the reforms is key. We know that this is not an easy path. It demands strong commitment. But it can be done. And Montenegro is taking the right steps.
Joining the Euro-Atlantic family is a win-win. For Montenegro and for NATO.
Countries which joined the Alliance have been able to strengthen their democracy, boost their security and make their citizens safer.
This is important because security is important in itself but in addition of course stability, security is important for so much more, for instance for economic development and economic prosperity. Countries which have joined the Alliance have also made NATO stronger. Being in NATO means defending each other.
That is the basis for our Alliance. Security for all members, assured by all members. One for all and all for one.
Prime Minister, I commend you for what you have done and for what you have achieved so far, and I encourage you to continue on the path of reform.
So that Montenegro can move forward on your path towards Euro-Atlantic integration.