Joint press statements

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of Montenegro, Filip Vujanović - Secretary General's remarks

  • 07 Jun. 2017 -
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  • Last updated 08-Jun-2017 08:43

(As delivered)

President Filip Vujanovic, welcome to NATO headquarters on this very special occasion. 

On Monday, the instrument of accession was deposited in Washington. And from then on Montenegro is a full member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It was an honour to be there together with Prime Minister Marković. And at that moment, Montenegro officially became the 29th member of our Alliance.

Later today we will raise Montenegro’s flag here at NATO headquarters, welcoming Montenegro’s membership in the NATO family. NATO is an alliance of democracies, united by a single purpose: to stand with each other and defend each other.

Montenegro joins NATO as an equal, with a seat at our table, and an equal voice in shaping the future of the Alliance.

I want to congratulate you, Mister President, as well as the people of Montenegro, for everything you have achieved. Since NATO’s foundation, we have always kept our door open to those who share our values and who can contribute to our security. Montenegro’s accession sends a message to other states that seek membership: that if a country travels the path of reform, embraces democracy, and the rule of law, and proves itself willing to and able to contribute to our collective defence, sharing the responsibilities as well as the rewards, then it too can join the Alliance.

Montenegro’s accession is good for Montenegro, it’s good for NATO, it’s good for the stability of the Western Balkans and it’s good for international peace and security.

Today is a historic day.

So President Vujanovic, welcome so much to NATO. It’s a great honour to have you here. Welcome.

FILIP VUJANOVIĆ (President of Montenegro):  Mr. Secretary General, ladies and gentlemen. Today is a great day for Montenegro. The country that together with NATO marks and celebrates its succession, the fulfilment of our strategic goal. It is a great success and a historic event. Only ten years after restoration of our independence our hard work and strong commitment to reform made us a member of NATO. With NATO membership our future will be stable, secure and prosperous and we will make decisions about the most important issues within the strongest, the most organized and most efficient alliance in the history of mankind. On behalf of my country and mine too I use this opportunity to convey our sincere gratitude to Secretary General Stoltenberg and all the allies for the strong and valuable support they have given us. We are also grateful to NATO for organizing today’s extraordinary ceremony which represents a joint success for both the alliance and Montenegro. We become member of the Euro Atlantic community and continue to contribute to the fulfilment of core purposes and values of the alliance. NATO continues to serve us a beacon of hope for all these willing to meet these standards and share its values. Today’s flag raising ceremony is also a symbol of our success and definitive proof that open door policy is indeed alive. I am sure that Montenegro will be a reliable member of NATO. Thank you for your attention.

Q:  Mr. Secretary General two questions for you. One, the EU announced some defence initiatives today. Are you worried that either the new funding initiative or other initiatives they’re pursuing will create duplication with NATO? Are you, both organizations, treading on the same ground? And a question for you on the Incirlik Base and the dispute between Turkey and Germany. Are you worried that this dispute will spread to the NATO base, to the AWACS where German pilots are? And on principle should parliamentarians be allowed to visit a NATO country and review their troops? And finally Mr. President, now that your country is in NATO and the issue of membership is settled is there a possibility for reconciliation between the opposition and the government? Isn’t it time for a compromise deal to restore sort of more normal parliamentary workings in your country now that the NATO issue is settled?

JENS STOLTENBERG:  Stronger European defence will also contribute to stronger NATO because it will strengthen the European pillar in NATO. We have to remember that more than 90 % of the people living in the European Union, they live in a NATO country. So as long as what the European Union does is complementary to NATO and not duplicate NATO structures and institutions, I just welcome the efforts to strengthen European defence. And new funding mechanisms, for instance developing capabilities, is actually a tool I think can be of great importance because it will help developing new European defence capabilities, that is something we really need, but it will also help, the way I understand this new mechanism, to motivate and to give the incentives to European countries to go together in the development of new capabilities. Meaning addressing the challenges related to a very fragmented European defence industry. So the new funding mechanism will help to develop new capabilities but also to develop new capabilities in a more coherent and coordinated way and that will help both to spend more and to spend better which is absolutely and fully in line with what NATO also is working for and we welcome that from the European side.
When it comes to Incirlik that has been an issue we have addressed over some time. I have been in contact both with the German Government and with Turkish authorities. I know also that there’s direct dialogue of course between Turkey and Germany. I will speak with Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen later on today.  The German planes at the Incirlik Base they are there under bilateral agreements or arrangements with Turkey, while the AWACS planes which are based on the base or in Konya, they are under NATO command under NATO arrangements. So this is two very different things and I haven’t seen anyone linking the problems and the challenges related to the German deployment at Incirlik with the NATO deployment at Konya. So I am confident that we will continue at Konya as before.

FILIP VUJANOVIĆ:  We are dedicated to have our position [inaudible] in our parliament and I think membership in NATO is a new impetus for our communication and we are ready to do everything to show that it is the best way to have adequate level of political life and I expect our position to have new position of Montenegro as a member of NATO knowing that it is so important for us to be in our parliament. And on this occasion I invite them to be in parliament and to be together for all achievements of Montenegro.

Q: Secretary General, what do you think, what does this enlargement means for Georgia and also for Ukraine? And Mr. President congratulations from Georgia and the same question for you. Thanks.

JENS STOLTENBERG:  The enlargement of NATO, the fact that Montenegro now becomes the 29th member of NATO, shows that NATO’s door is open. And it also shows that countries that are implementing reforms, modernizing their defence and security structures, pursuing the rule of law, strengthening democratic institutions as Montenegro has done, they can also join the alliance. And therefore we will continue to work with Georgia. We have implemented many measures, we have the substantial package, different elements of cooperation, we have the joint training and evaluation centre. I know that the NATO Parliamentary Assembly recently visited Georgia. So we have a very close political dialogue, we have practical cooperation and this contributes and helps Georgia moving forward on its Euro Atlantic integration.