NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that by joining NATO, Montenegro has become an exporter of stability in the Balkans, that this has paved the way for the European integration of many countries, and that NATO's door remains wide open.
The open door policy doesn't mean that NATO is turning eastwards. We are talking about sovereign and independent countries choosing their own way. We will keep our presence, our focus and engagement in the Western Balkans and support the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of the countries in the region, Stoltenberg has told Podgorica media.
A year ago today, Montenegro adopted a decision to join NATO, becoming its 29th member state. On the occasion of the anniversary, Stoltenberg said it was a big deal to have Montenegro as a member state.
I was very proud when we admitted Montenegro as the 29th member state of the Alliance. That shows that NATO's door is open. Montenegro's NATO accession has contributed to stability in the Western Balkans, he said.
He added that Montenegro contributed to NATO missions and operations, and that it had announced bigger participation in rescue missions in Afghanistan.
Our open door policy is a historic success. It has brought stability, peace and prosperity to millions of people across the Euro-Atlantic region and built better cooperation. As Montenegro's NATO entry has shown, NATO's door remains open.
For a country to join NATO, it has to submit an application and 29 allies have to agree to it. No one else is asked about it, said Stoltenberg.
He also said that the Greek foreign minister had informed the North Atlantic Council of efforts to find a solution to the Greece-Macedonia dispute over Macedonia's name.
NATO's position is clear. As soon as the name issue is solved, we are ready to invite the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to become a NATO member state. There's a new impetus and efforts by Skopje and Athens, and I hope the name issue will be solved, Stoltenberg said.