• Montenegro in NATO?

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  • Tillerson Urges Senate Ratification of Montenegro's NATO Membership

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has written to the leaders of the U.S. Senate urging the ratification of Montenegro as the newest member of the NATO alliance
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  • Despite Sen. Rand Paul, Montenegro’s Foreign Minister is Confident of NATO Membership

    Montenegro’s Foreign Minister Srdjan Darmanovic is confident that, despite a procedural setback, the US Senate will ratify a protocol that will allow his nation to become the twenty-ninth member of NATO. This, he said, should happen before the Alliance’s summit in Brussels in May.

    NATO foreign ministers signed the Accession Protocol with Montenegro in May 2016. Prospective members must win approval from all NATO members’ parliaments, as well as the unanimous consent of the US Senate. Once that approval is secured, Montenegro will be invited to join the Alliance. This would represent NATO’s first expansion since Albania and Croatia joined in 2009.

    So far, twenty-four of twenty-eight NATO allies have backed Montenegro’s accession. In the United States, the process has hit a roadblock: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has demanded a roll call vote, which is a lengthier process than a quick voice vote.

    “I am very confident [that the Senate will ratify the protocol] and rely on US democracy," Darmanovic said in an interview with the New Atlanticist at the Atlantic Council on March 21.

    "It is normal procedure to try to get it done by unanimous consent, but in any democracy, it is not easy to get 100 out of 100 senators or parliamentarians,” he added.

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  • The West Needs to Call Russia’s Bluff in the Balkans

    For all the uncertainties about the Balkans, one thing stays the same. Every few years, the headline “We Are Heading for War Again” crops up in the Western media. The last time this happened, the 2014 centennial of the First World War inspired pundits to ask whether the world is on the cusp of another European conflict. Now the cause is the isolationist turn in US foreign policy and the election of Donald Trump as president, coupled with Russia’s efforts to stir trouble in the former Yugoslavia.

    In fact, the Balkans is in no danger of breaking into war anytime soon. Nonetheless, the West’s growing disengagement in the area, coupled by the region’s stagnation and democratic backsliding, provides an ideal avenue for Russia to subtly gain influence among leaders and the public across the Balkans.

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  • Flynn to Recommend Trump Back NATO Membership for Montenegro

    White House national security adviser Michael Flynn will recommend that President Donald Trump support allowing the small Balkan nation of Montenegro to join NATO
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  • Beware of the Russian Bear in the Balkans

    On October 16, just hours before Montenegrins were due to head to the polls, the government made an alarming announcement. It claimed security services had foiled a Russian nationalist attempt to seize control of the parliament and assassinate Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic (who has since resigned).

    The Kremlin undoubtedly has an axe to grind with the Montenegrin leader. Djukanovic’s support for economic sanctions on Russia over the annexation of Crimea, and his determination to take his country into NATO, have not won him any friends in Moscow. But politics in the Balkans is rarely a straightforward affair.

    As critics were quick to point out, the alleged assassination plot came at a convenient moment for Djukanovic and his Democratic Party of Socialists, who had been under pressure from anti-government demonstrators in the build-up to the election. Or as the Democratic Front, Montenegro’s main pro-Russian opposition party, put it, the incident was “a cheap, staged and performed vaudeville coup” aimed at scaring voters into maintaining the status quo.

    While the claim that a prime minister staged a coup to win an election may seem outlandish, investigative journalists and opposition parties have long accused him of corruption, including vote-rigging, and having ties to organized crime. Djukanovic, who has ruled the country for most of the last two and half decades, was awarded the dubious title of ‘2015 Man of the Year in Organized Crime’ by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

    Nearly two months on, details of the alleged coup plot remain murky.

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  • Farkas Quoted by the Guardian on Montenegro's Accession Bid to NATO

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  • Beware: The Russian Bear is Getting Bolder

    In NATO member Hungary, Russian agents have been fingered for training with a neo-Nazi militia; in the tiny Balkan state of Monte­negro, which is on the verge of joining the transatlantic alliance, Moscow is accused of plotting a violent coup....
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  • Serbia Deports Russians Suspected of Plotting to Assassinate Prime Minister of Montenegro

    Serbia has deported a group of Russians suspected of involvement in a coup plot in neighbouring Montenegro, the Guardian has learned, in the latest twist in a murky sequence of events that apparently threatened the lives of two European prime ministers.
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  • Montenegro: 'Nationalists from Russia' Organized Assassination Attempt Against Prime Minister Djukanovic

    From Predrag Milic, AP: Two Russian citizens are among those suspected of involvement in an alleged election day plot in Montenegro to assassinate the country's prime minister and take power because of the government's NATO membership bid, prosecutors said Monday.
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