“NATO is an alliance of democracies, united by a single purpose: to stand with each other and defend each other,” said Stoltenberg.
He added that 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,” NATO Secretary General said.
He pointed out that 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,” Stoltenberg highlighted.
“Today is a historic day, so President Vujanovic, welcome so much to NATO. It’s a great honour to have you here. Welcome,” he concluded at the press conference.
At the Flag-Raising Ceremony to mark Montenegro’s accession to NATO, Stoltenberg said that they have gathered to mark a historic occasion, to welcome Montenegro as NATO’s newest member.
“From today, across the Alliance, 29 flags will fly together, symbolising our unity and our solidarity. NATO began as an Alliance of 12 and in almost seventy years, it has grown steadily. When our founders drafted the Washington Treaty back in 1949, they made sure to leave the door to NATO open. They knew that their goal – ‘the preservation of peace and security’ – would have a powerful appeal. We are a community of values and in joining NATO, Montenegro becomes an integral part of that community,” Stoltenberg said.
He noted that Montenegro has travelled a long road of reform to be here. “It is just 11 years since your country regained independence and your accession to NATO will strengthen that independence,” he said.
“I want to congratulate the government and the people of Montenegro for everything you have achieved and I commend your commitment to Euro-Atlantic integration. You have a seat at our table – with an equal voice. You will be able to shape the decisions we take together, and from now on, you have 28 Allies – 28 friends – who will always come to your aid,” Stoltenberg added.
He said that NATO will benefit from Montenegrin membership of the Alliance, just as much as Montenegro will do.
“Every new member makes NATO stronger and more effective. Politically and militarily, helping us to adapt to evolving challenges, such as terrorism and contributing to international security as a whole,” he noted.
“We value Montenegro, and recognise the unique contribution you make to the Alliance. The expertise and insight you bring and your robust and professional armed forces, who have performed with such distinction in Afghanistan,” NATO Secretary General highlighted.
“Over the past 25 years, NATO has sought to bring peace and stability to the Western Balkans. Your joining NATO today has a stabilising effect on the whole region. Your accession also sends a message: that our door remains open to those who share the vision of the Washington treaty, who meet the Alliance’s high standards and wish to contribute to the collective security of all Allies. It also demonstrates that NATO will continue to support the right of every country to decide their own path,” he concluded.