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    Flags fly at half mast at NATO headquarters in Brussels, March 23, 2016.

    Montenegro Expects to Become NATO Member Before Alliance's 2017 Summit – PM

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    Montenegro expects to become a full-fledged member of NATO before the next summit of the military alliance, which will take place in Brussels, Prime Minister Dusko Markovic said on Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The exact date of the 2017 NATO Summit has not been announced yet, but, according to media reports, it is expected to take place in May or June.

    "We are pleased with the momentum of the process of the ratification of the protocol, and we believe that today already we will have the 22nd country [France] that will ratify the protocol, and we also fully expect for Montenegro to attend the NATO summit this year as the NATO country," Markovic said at a press conference after his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, broadcast live on the NATO official website.

    Markovic added that victory of "pro-Euro-Atlantic and pro-European" forces at the parliamentary elections in Montenegro in October 2016 enabled the country’s authorities to "start as quickly as possible the process of confirming the membership agreement, thus bringing the whole process to an end" after the ratification of the Accession Protocol in the parliaments of NATO member states is completed.

    "We were exposed to pressure aimed at blocking our accession to NATO, but we have resisted them due to the power of the state, its institutions, democracy and democratic principles," the prime minister underlined. Markovic mentioned the ongoing boycott of Skupstina (the country’s parliament) by 39 opposition lawmakers, which is "part of plans to destabilize Montenegro in political terms and disable it to become a member of NATO".

    NATO's director general, in his turn, said that Montenegro’s path toward NATO membership has been "remarkable," adding that Podgorica managed to "reach very far with the signing of the Accession Protocol last year".

    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), created in 1949 by 10 European countries, the United States and Canada, currently has 28 member states. Montenegro's NATO Accession Protocol has already been ratified by the parliaments of 21 NATO member states.

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    NATO, Dusko Markovic, Montenegro
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