Montenegro’s Accession to NATO Harms European Stability - Moscow

© AP Photo / Virginia MayoNATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, front left, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, front left, stand with other NATO defense ministers during a group photo at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, front left, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, front left, stand with other NATO defense ministers during a group photo at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. - Sputnik International
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Montenegro’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) hampers European stability and US President Donald Trump's assent reflects Washington's inertia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, Trump signed the protocol on Montenegro’s accession to NATO, the final step in ratifying the document.

A protestor holds the flags of the United States, Macedonia, Albania and the European Union while attending a march through downtown Skopje, Macedonia, Monday, April 18, 2016 - Sputnik International
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"We consider the line to include Montenegro in NATO deeply mistaken, contrary to the fundamental interests of the people of this country, which is detrimental to stability in the Balkans and in Europe as a whole," the ministry said.

The NATO symbol and flags of the NATO nations outside NATO headquarters in Brussels on Sunday, March 2, 2014 - Sputnik International
Trump Ratifies Protocol for Montenegro’s Accession to NATO
Last month, US senators voted 97-2 on Washington's Senate floor in favor of Montenegro's membership of the 28-member military alliance. This marked an important step for the Balkan country's inclusion into the international defense organization.

"We consider this step as a manifestation of inertia in Washington's policy, reflecting the logic of confrontation on the European continent, creating new dividing lines," the ministry said in a statement on its website.

Montenegro was invited to join NATO on December 2, 2015, in the alliance's first expansion into Eastern Europe in six years. Podgorica accepted the invitation the following day, an act which triggered protests in the Balkan nation. In May 2016, the Alliance members signed a protocol on Podgorica's accession to be ratified by all NATO member states before becoming a full-fledged member.

In late January, the country's prime minister said Montenegro expected to become a member of NATO before the alliance's next summit in May, despite the opposition's calls to hold a referendum on the issue.

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