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FM Darmanović: By joining NATO, for the first time Montenegro becomes integral part of the West

FM Darmanović: By joining NATO, for the first time Montenegro becomes integral part of the West
Published date: 04.06.2018 21:39 | Author: MVP

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Podgorica, Montenegro (4 June 2018) -- Minister of Foreign Affairs Srđan Darmanovič said that joining NATO is the most important date in Montenegro’s recent history after 21 May 2006, when it restored independence, because the country’s membership in NATO enabled it to become for the first time an institutional part of the West, the Western system and the Western values.

"Membership in NATO and the fact that Montenegro has become part of the most powerful political, military and security alliance is important for us historically, important for the State, for security, for economy and for the future, of course," said Minister Darmanović making a guest appearance on Replika talk-show on national broadcaster RTCG.

He underscored that by joining NATO, Montenegro confirmed its independence, which is a topic that has marked the whole of its recent history.

"There have been fierce battles over the country's state-legal status, in the past and today. Montenegro spent more than 70 years in two Yugoslavias, and finally managed to restore its statehood and independence without conflict. However, this issue has been the subject of disputes, political battles and internal struggles. There has been different views, and they exist today as well. NATO membership has confirmed our independence and state sovereignty, because NATO accession will be guaranteeing our borders, our sovereignty, I would say, from now on. This is also significant from the security point of view because Montenegro is a small country and I do not think there is a better model for a small country than being a member of the collective security system. Of course, we could have developed our own armed forces and invested in our own defence, but it is much more expensive and probably much more insecure than being part of such a strong and broad collective security system. For Montenegro, this is a matter of economic prosperity as well. NATO sends messages to everyone, to investors, who see Montenegro as a business destination in which they do not have to ask questions about its security any more," the Minister of Foreign Affairs stressed.

Minister Darmanović said that during the first year of membership, Montenegro has proved itself as an equal partner in NATO.

"We have been equal partner at the table, we have participated in the Alliance’s decision making process in a meritorious way. Montenegro has proven to be a very credible and reliable partner in almost all important decisions. We have shown readiness to participate, if necessary, on the eastern wing and in other operations. Our soldiers have a good reputation based on operations in Afghanistan and in other operations. This simply testifies to the fact that NATO can count on Montenegro regardless of its size," Minister Darmanović stated.

He described tomorrow’s launching of the NATO Air Policing mission over Montenegro as a direct benefit the country has from membership in NATO.

"It is a standard agreement within the NATO alliance for countries that do not have their own air forces and we have raised that issue. Now we need to sign bilateral agreements with the two countries designated within NATO to control our airspace, namely Italy and Greece. Their fighter aircrafts and their air support systems will be monitoring and protecting Montenegro’s airspace on behalf of NATO, and for our benefit," the Foreign minister explained, adding that the Air Policing is one of the many indicators of the benefits that Montenegro has in terms of security.

"At the beginning of the talk-show, you mentioned the last year's fires, in which for the first time we activated the support system and civil protection within NATO. And if you remember somewhere earlier, the US helicopters helped us at the time of heavy snowfalls. Therefore, the benefits are great for small countries ... In addition, we use the system of NATO military academies, where our officers are trained. We have two officers, one woman, in the NATO Allied Command. A small country like Montenegro gradually becomes part of that system. These are the results of the first year of our membership," said Minister Darmanović.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro said that membership in the European Union is the national goal number one after the country has become a member of NATO.

"There is very clear majority support in the country, above 60 or even 70%, for EU membership, and Montenegro will not give up pursuing this goal," Foreign Minister Darmanović concluded.

Ambassador of Croatia Veselko Grubišić, and executive directors of the Centre for Democratic Transition and Atlantic Council of Montenegro, Dragan Koprivica and Savo Kentera, also took part in Replika talk-show.