US Senate ratifies Montenegro’s Nato accession protocol

US Senate ratifies Montenegro’s Nato accession protocol
By bne IntelliNews March 29, 2017

The US Senate ratified the protocol for Montenegro’s membership in Nato late on March 28, ending months of tension and speculation over Washington’s policies towards the alliance and Russia, and giving the Adriatic country a much desired green light to advance further in its Euro-Atlantic path.

Montenegro’s Nato accession has become a test case for the new geopolitics following the election of the US President Donald Trump. US Democrats previously claimed that some Republican senators were trying to prevent Montenegro entering into the military alliance, amid suspicions of Russian influence over US policymaking. Moscow is staunchly against the accession of Montenegro, a former Balkan ally, becoming a Nato member. 

97 Senators supported the protocol, while two – the Republicans Rand Paul and Mike Lee - voted against it, broadcaster RTCG reported. The same two Senators have opposed limitation of the debate on the resolution earlier this week.

The protocol now has to be signed by Trump.

Rand had previously blocked an attempt to discuss the protocol, prompting former US presidential candidate and fellow Republican senator John McCain to accuse him of working for Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Although Montenegro was invited to join Nato in December 2015, the country’s full accession was delayed by the US Senate. The only other country which has not yet adopted the protocol is Spain, which is not expected to have any objections.

In May 2016, Nato foreign ministers signed the protocol on the country’s accession to the alliance. Since then, Montenegro has been able to participate in meetings as an observer, but it will only become a full member after the protocol is ratified by the parliaments of all member states. The country was hoping to become a full member of Nato by spring this year.

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