For signing the document in Brussels came to the Prime Minister of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic. Since the signing of the Protocol, Montenegro will take part in all the NATO meetings as an observer and will take part in the discussion of key documents of the Alliance, but until they sign.
Montenegro received an official invitation to NATO on 2 December 2015. Almost immediately after that, the Russian foreign Ministry called the country’s accession to NATO is “frankly confrontational step, fraught with additional destabilizing consequences for the Euro-Atlantic security”. Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov said that “the continued expansion of NATO” cannot fail to lead to “retaliatory action” from Moscow. Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the decision on adoption of Montenegro in the Alliance is artificial.
The signing of the Protocol starts the mechanism of transformation of Montenegro into a full-fledged member of NATO. For this purpose, the Protocol must be ratified by all 28 countries-members of NATO, and Montenegro. According to officials of NATO, the process can take up to one to two years, it is expected that Montenegro will become a full member of the Alliance in 2017.
Speaking to reporters, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that any possible sanctions and retaliatory measures of Russia on the accession of Montenegro to the Alliance are undue.
“There is a fundamental principle of every independent sovereign country determines its own path, in particular, to determine the security institutions in which it wants to participate. I believe that there is no reason to take away such a right in Montenegro, so any sanctions or reaction on the part of Russia are unjustified, since we are talking about the decision of a sovereign country,” — said Stoltenberg.
And Stoltenberg, and the U.S. representative to NATO, Douglas Lute during the conversation with journalists stressed that the adoption of NATO Montenegro should demonstrate the principle of the open door in the functioning of NATO.