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Two Feet in the Grave: All NATO Members Ratify Montenegro Accession

© AP Photo / Risto BozovicAnti-NATO demonstrators hold a banner during a protest outside the hall before the parliament session in Cetinje, Montenegro, Friday, April 28, 2017
Anti-NATO demonstrators hold a banner during a protest outside the hall before the parliament session in Cetinje, Montenegro, Friday, April 28, 2017 - Sputnik International
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All the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have ratified the protocol on the accession of Montenegro to the organization, the Balkan nation's government said.

BELGRADE (Sputnik) — The ratification of the protocol signed in May 2016 by all NATO member nations was the necessary requirement for Montenegro's joining of the alliance.

Prime Minister Dusko Markovic said Friday that the formal joining of NATO, which could take place at the next summit of the military alliance in May, would add to the stability and economic benefit of the country and to the Balkans at large, including an increased influx of foreign investments to Montenegro.

Demonstrators wave flags during anti-NATO protest as Montenegro’s parliament discusses NATO membership agreement in Cetinje, Montenegro, April 28, 2017 - Sputnik International
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Montenegro was invited to join NATO in December 2015, as part of the first expansion of the alliance into Eastern Europe in six years. Podgorica accepted the invitation on December 3, 2015. However, the government's decision to join NATO triggered mass protests throughout the country.

On April 25, US President Donald Trump signed the protocol on Montenegro’s accession to NATO, which was the final step in ratifying the document.

Russia has repeatedly expressed concerns over the further expansion of NATO into the east. Last month, the Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the political course of Montenegro that sees them joining the alliance without holding a nationwide referendum.

Montenegro was bombed by NATO in 1999.

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