NATO Invites Montenegro to Join Alliance

NATO has invited Montenegro to become the 29th member of the alliance. NATO foreign m?inisters made the decision Wednesday to begin accession talks with the Balkan nation, according to a release. “This is a good day for Montenegro, a good day for the western Balkans, and a good day for the alliance,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. The decision “makes clear that NATO keeps its door open, to complete our vision of a Europe whole, free, and at peace,” he said. Secretary of State John Kerry said the move is “another step towards the full integration of Europe and towards the common defense.” Kerry also stressed that the decision is not focused on Russia, but “on the potential of defense against anybody or anything that is a threat, including ISIL, including the challenge of how we meet migration and other standards… it would be a great mistake to react adversely.” NATO has worked with Montenegro since 2009 to help prepare for possible future membership; the decision this week allows accession talks to start early next year. After the talks, allies will sign an accession protocol, which must then be ratified by parliaments in all of the allied countries before Montenegro can become a member. (Kerry transcript.)