WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement on the recent announcement by NATO extending an invitation for Montenegro to join the Alliance.
“I welcome the recent announcement that NATO will extend an invitation to the country of Montenegro. I strongly support this invitation and look forward to welcoming Montenegro into the Alliance at the Warsaw summit in July 2016. Last month’s horrific attacks in Paris were a stark reminder of the new and evolving security threats that NATO members face. As we respond to these attacks, renewed Russian aggression in the East, and the influx of refugees, we must commit to reinforcing and expanding our core values by enhancing membership in our shared transatlantic institutions, anchored under NATO’s security umbrella.
“Since its founding close to 70 years ago, the promise of NATO membership has motivated societies to improve not only their military capabilities, but their governance capacity as well. As NATO faces simultaneous crises along its eastern and southern flanks, we must ensure that the Alliance is equipped militarily to address these threats, while also using the promise of NATO membership to encourage better governance in aspirant countries. I congratulate Montenegro on the significant steps it has taken in preparation for this moment and urge its continued progress on efforts to combat corruption and strengthen the rule of law. Progress in these areas is critical for Montenegro’s membership bid, and we will closely monitor their efforts.
“Welcoming Montenegro into NATO is recognition of its important reform work to date. In a region that has been held back by conflict and corruption, we must show that NATO’s door is open to those who are willing to undertake the necessary reforms to join the Euroatlantic community. I commend all NATO for supporting Montenegro’s bid and look forward to welcoming it into this critical Alliance.”