by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at Montenegro's Instrument of Accession deposit event in Washington, DC - Monday, 5 june 2017

  • 05 Jun. 2017 -
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  • Last updated: 05 Jun. 2017 18:53

(As delivered)

John, thank you very much.
Prime Minister Markovic,
Under Secretary Shannon, Excellences,
Ladies and gentlemen.

In April 1949, just a short distance from here, the 12 founding members of the NATO Alliance signed the Washington Treaty.

At that ceremony, President Truman said,
“In this Pact, we hope to create a shield against aggression and the fear of aggression.
A bulwark which will permit us to get on with the real business of government and society.
The business of achieving a fuller and happier life for all our citizens.”

Since then, NATO’s shield has been extended to cover 28 – now 29 – nations in Europe and North America.
Enabling almost a billion people to live that fuller and happier life.

We are an alliance of democracies.
And we have, at times, different political perspectives.

But together we rise above those differences.
And unite around a common purpose.
To stand with each other.
To protect each other.
And, if necessary, to fight to defend each other.

Article 5, our collective defence pledge, is the core of our Alliance.
A unique bond that has kept our nations safe for almost seven decades.

Today, our commitment to the Alliance is as strong as ever.
Not just in words but also in deeds.
We see it in a stronger US military presence in Europe.
And Europe and Canada investing more in defence.

Today Montenegro joins NATO with a seat at the table as an equal.
With an equal voice in shaping our Alliance.
And its independence guaranteed.

In turn, NATO benefits from
Montenegro’s insight into the Western Balkans.
And the professionalism, bravery and dedication of its men and women in uniform.
Troops who serve with our Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.

Montenegro’s accession is good for Montenegro.
It is also good for the stability of the Western Balkans.
And it’s good for international peace and security.

Since NATO’s founding, keeping our door open to new members has been one of our greatest contributions to international peace and security.
Montenegro’s accession sends a signal to other states that seek membership.

That if a country truly reforms.
If it promotes democracy.
Strengthens the rule of law.
Modernises its armed forces.
And contributes to our collective defence.
It too can join the Alliance.

67 years ago, President Truman said that people, “with courage and vision can still determine their own destiny.”

Today Montenegro has determined its own destiny.
To join NATO.
And to follow the path of freedom and of peace.

So I congratulate you Prime Minister /> Dobro dosla, Crna Goro!
Welcome to NATO!