- Title: Montenegro parliament ratifies NATO membership accord
- Date: 28th April 2017
- Summary: OPPOSITION LEADER ANDRIJA MANDIC ON STAGE PEOPLE HOLDING BANNER READING (English) "NATO KILLERS" (SOUNDBITE) (Montenegrin) DEMOCRATIC FRONT LEADER, ANDRIJA MANDIC, SAYING "NATO bombed us, NATO was killing us, NATO was destroying our country - why would we support it? I don't see the reason why our fellow Montenegrins would support NATO. We have a good chance to organize the opposition, to keep protesting and force the change of government and then let the people decide what they want. " PROTESTERS CHANTING AND WAVING FLAGS NATO OPPONENTS ON STAGE PROTESTERS CHANTING AND WAVING FLAGS
- Embargoed: 12th May 2017 17:41
- Keywords: Montenegro Nato vote
- Location: CETINJE, MONTENEGRO
- City: CETINJE, MONTENEGRO
- Country: Montenegro
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA0036EBCMKN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Montenegro's parliament on Friday (April 28) ratified the country's membership agreement with NATO, taking the tiny former Yugoslav republic a step closer to becoming the 29th member of the Atlantic alliance.
Forty-six of 81 deputies voted in favour of the agreement. Most of the opposition, led by the pro-Russia Democratic Front, boycotted the vote and protested outside.
Both the parliament session and the protest, drawing several hundred anti-NATO opposition supporters, were held in the historical town of Cetinje, the royal seat of the Montenegrin medieval state.
The protesters torched a NATO flag and demanded a referendum on NATO membership.
Montenegrins remain deeply divided over NATO, with many angry over the alliance's 1999 bombing of Serbia over the heavy-handed crackdown on ethnic Albanians rebelling in Serbia's then province of Kosovo.
NATO also bombed Montenegro, then part of a rump Yugoslavia with Serbia, arguing its targets were part of the war machine.
All but two of NATO member-states have ratified the accord, which is strongly opposed by Russia, a country with strong historic and cultural ties to Montenegro. Podgorica hopes to formally join NATO at a summit next month.
Montenegro's accession will mark the first expansion of NATO ranks into ex-Communist eastern Europe since its neighbours Albania and Croatia joined in 2009, and the first since relations between Russia and the West hit a post-Cold War low with the outbreak of war in Ukraine.
With a population of 650,000 and a military of only 2,000, Montenegro is strategically positioned on the eastern Adriatic between NATO members Croatia and Albania.
Russia criticized the expansion, highlighting Montenegro's negligible military potential.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None