Podgorica, (MINA) – Completion of Montenegro’s NATO integration is a milestone for the Montenegrin Armed Forces and an indicator of the continuous reaffirmation and strengthening of Montenegro as a trusty and important member of the Alliance, said Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) Andre Lanata.
Lanata and Chief of General Staff of the Montenegrin Armed Forces VCG) Dragutin Dakic will sign on Wednesday the Declaration on Completion of Montenegro’s NATO integration process.
In an interview to Mina, Lanata said that signing of the declaration is a success that indicates the end of a 10 year accession process which started with Montenegro inclusion in the Membership Action Plan and leading to its accession in 2017.
“This achievement is the result of a collective, national effort, with stakeholders from the Ministry of Defence, Armed Forces of Montenegro, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Public Administration, Ministry of Finance, and many other governmental services and agencies”, Lanata added.
He said that during the last three years the Allied Command for Transformation has led the practical aspects of accession and integration through advice, education and training support, and the practical delivery of NATO equipment, with the support of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE).
Lanata said that all criteria established during the Initial Integration Conference were met. “I am proud and happy to be in Montenegro to participate in this Final Conference, contributing to Montenegro’s ability to independently develop its military instrument in line with NATO’s requirements”, said he.
According to him, the end of Montenegro’s NATO integration process is a great success both for Montenegro and the Alliance.
“However, this transformation is only the beginning of Montenegro’s participation in a continuous process of NATO’s long-term defence transformation. This effort never ends, and the need to adapt is present in NATO since its conception 70 years ago, to be able to face the evolving challenges”, Lanata underlined.
He emphasized that ACT has established strong relationships with Montenegro authorities, and added that it will remain fully committed to supporting Montenegrin armed forces transformation.
Lanata underlined that Montenegro, like all other member nations, will be required to meet its capability targets, those accepted by all nations.
“This will be included in Montenegro’s efforts to increase its defence spending in order to meet the Defence Investment Pledge, which requires that all NATO member, reach a level of defence expenditure of 2% of their GDP by 2024”, he explained.
He stated that after becoming a NATO member, Montenegro, its population and territory is included into the NATO’s protective umbrella.
He assessed that Montenegro’s accession has helped promote stability in the entire Western Balkans and reiterated the words of the NATO Secretary General from a few months ago who said that “the Alliance values Montenegro’s contributions to international security”.
“Montenegro is becoming a fully integrated NATO member. Montenegro’s commitment to contribute and guarantee security in Europe is a reality and I am delighted with the decision taken by Montenegrin authorities”, said Lanata.
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