The Flag of Montenegro was raised at NATO Headquarters in a special ceremony to mark the country’s accession to NATO.
Flag raising ceremonies were also held simultaneously at Allied Command Operations (SHAPE) in Mons and Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia.
Montenegro became the 29th member of the Alliance on Monday (5 June 2017) when it deposited its instrument of accession to the North Atlantic Treaty with the US State Department in Washington DC.
Standing alongside President Filip Vujanović of Montenegro, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, “We value Montenegro, and recognise the unique contribution you make to the Alliance.” The Secretary General also commended Montenegro’s commitment to Euro-Atlantic integration and congratulated the Montenegrin government and people for their achievements in the 11 years since the country regained independence.
Allied foreign ministers signed Montenegro’s Accession Protocol in May 2016, after which all 28 national parliaments voted to ratify its membership. Montenegro’s accession represents NATO’s first enlargement since 1 April 2009, when Albania and Croatia joined the Alliance.
Military Committee welcomes newest member, Montenegro
Just thirteen months after the signature of its Accession Protocol, Montenegro officially became NATO’s 29th Allied Nation. Across the Alliance, NATO welcomed its newest member. The Military Committee and its Chairman, General Petr Pavel, also marked this significant event during their first meeting with Montenegro, no longer an “Invitee” but a full-fledged Ally.
Montenegro’s membership to NATO on 5 June marks the end of an accession process that was initiated on 19 May 2016 when the NATO Foreign Ministers undertook the historic signing of its Accession Protocol. All 28 Allied national parliaments were then required to ratify the protocols, according to their national requirements and procedures, marking their agreement. Pending this ratification by all Allied nations, Montenegro received an ‘Invitee’ status, allowing its representatives to participate as observers in Allied meetings.
Once all NATO member countries notified the United States of America, the depository of the Washington Treaty, of their acceptance of Montenegro’s accession, Montenegro was invited to accede to the Washington Treaty (or the North Atlantic Treaty). On 5 June, a ceremony was held in Washington, DC marking the formal deposit of Montenegro’s instrument for its accession to the Treaty.
On 6 June, NATO, ACO and ACT Headquarters held a coordinated flag-raising ceremony to officially welcome Montenegro as the Alliance’s newest member.
The Military Committee marked Montenegro’s new status as full-fledged member during their meeting on 7 June. General Pavel, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, formally invited the Montenegrin Military Representative, Brigadier General Rajko Pesic to take his seat at the table for the first Military Committee meeting at 29.
During his opening remarks, General Pavel stressed that “this is a historic moment. First, I would like to thank all the civilian and military personnel that have been involved in Montenegro’s accession process. Your work has been invaluable in making Montenegro’s membership a reality. Montenegro is well-deserving of its membership and I am proud to call you Ally. Welcome to NATO”.
Brigadier General Pesic, Montenegro’s Military Representative thanked General Pavel for his warm welcome and Allied Nations for all their assistance during the accession process. He also highlighted Montenegro’s ongoing support of NATO Missions & Operations, “Montenegro will continue its long-term contribution to the global security through active engagement in Afghanistan and support to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL”. The Brigadier General concluded his address by emphasizing “that membership in the Alliance is a two-way-street. Thus, besides the clear benefits of membership that Montenegro will have, we will continue to further promote and extend NATO’s core values and policies”.
Note: This is the first enlargement since 1 April 2009, when Albania and Croatia joined the Alliance.
[Source: NATO -/- Media Relations]
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