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    Montenegrin police officers are engulfed in smoke and flames as opposition supporters hurled torches on them during a protest in front of the Parliament building in Podgorica, Montenegro Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. Police fired tear gas at opposition supporters who hurled fire bombs and torches to demand the resignation Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic's government which hopes to steer the Balkan country toward NATO membership later this year

    NATO Membership at Odds With ‘Real' Interests of Montenegrins

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    Spokesperson for the Socialist People's Party said that Montenegro's NATO accession contradicts the interests of the country's citizens.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Montenegro's NATO accession contradicts the interests of the country's citizens, a spokesperson for the Socialist People's Party of Montenegro told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    Earlier on Wednesday, NATO member states accepted Podgorica’s bid to join the alliance and invited the country to begin accession negotiations.

    "Obviously it is a political project, not in the real interests of the citizens of Montenegro," the representative for the country's second largest opposition party said.

    According to the party, Montenegro will lose a lot and get nothing in return for admission to full NATO membership, which can be confirmed by "any serious analysis dealing with this issue."

    Since late September, Montenegro has seen anti-government protests with thousands of citizens gathering in the streets of the country's capital, Podgorica, demanding that the country  stay out of the US-led NATO military bloc, calling for the creation of an interim government and early parliamentary elections.

    A referendum on Montenegro’s accession to NATO is absolutely necessary, the Montenegrin opposition Socialist People's Party said.

    Earlier on Wednesday, NATO alliance member states accepted Podgorica’s bid to join the alliance and invited the country to begin accession negotiations.

    "The most important thing is that the decision on possible NATO membership have to bring the citizens of Montenegro in a referendum. It is a very crucial issue and any ignoring the will of citizens could have grave consequences," a spokesperson for the Socialist People's Party of Montenegro, the second largest opposition party in the country, said.

    In democratic countries, citizens directly vote in a referendum even "about much less important issues," and a military alliance membership decision is of great importance, the party spokesperson added.

    NATO's decision to invete Montenegro to join the alliance is incorrect because it will raise tensions in the country, the Montenegrin opposition Socialist People's Party added.

    “Ministers of member countries of the North Atlantic military pact brought the wrong decision that will raise tensions in our country,” a spokesperson for the Socialist People's Party of Montenegro, the second largest opposition party in the country, said.

    Earlier on Wednesday, NATO alliance member states accepted Podgorica’s bid to join the alliance and invited the country to begin accession negotiations.

    “Sending of invitation to Montenegro, whose majority of citizens oppose full membership in the North Atlantic Pact, is a direct aggression against the peace, stability and security of the citizens of our country,” the spokesperson said.

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    NATO, NATO expansion, citizens, Montenegro
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