by NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană with the President of Montenegro, Jakov Milatović
Dear President Milatović,
Welcome to NATO Headquarters. Congratulations on your election.
The fact that you have come here so early in your new term, just days after being sworn in, is a clear sign of Montenegro's commitment to our Alliance.
Since joining NATO six years ago, Montenegro has been a valued Ally, making many contributions to our shared security.
This includes troops in our multinational battlegroup in Latvia, deterring aggression.
Montenegro is also providing valuable support to Ukraine, helping to push back on Russia's war of aggression.
And you play a vital role in the Western Balkans, promoting stability and peace.
And this is even more important at times of heightened tensions.
NATO strongly condemns yesterday's unprovoked attacks against KFOR troops in northern Kosovo.
Such attacks are totally unacceptable.
Violence must stop immediately, and all sides must engage in dialogue.
KFOR will continue to act impartially, and uphold its UN Security Council mandate to maintain a safe and secure environment.
Mister President, let me also welcome Montenegro's efforts to further increase defence spending. This helps to ensure that NATO remains ready for the challenges of today and tomorrow.
It is also part of Montenegro's progress on the path to Euro-Atlantic integration and reform.
Montenegro's NATO membership is good for Montenegro, it’s good for the region, and it’s good for the whole Alliance.
Greek and Italian jets help keep your skies safe.
Your forces hone their skills alongside 30 other Allies.
And Montenegro is stronger and safer as part of the most successful Alliance in history.
Today, we will discuss preparations for the NATO Summit in Vilnius – it will be the first NATO Summit, we look forward to receiving you, – which is only six weeks away.
Deterrence and defence, support to Ukraine, resilience, defence spending – all will be high on the agenda.
And I know we can count on Montenegro to help make our Summit a success.
Dear Mister President, welcome again. I look forward to our discussion. And as I mentioned on the way in, this is your second home. NATO HQ is also the home of you and your people, Mister President. The floor is yours.