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One year later: Montenegro shows it belongs

PODGORICA, Montenegro - U.S. Navy Admiral James Foggo lauded Montenegro’s civilian and military leadership during a visit to the nation's capital city of Podgorica, May 30.

The visit by the commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples comes just one week shy of Montenegro's one-year anniversary of becoming the 29th NATO member on June 5, 2017.

Among those given praise by Foggo included the Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense Secretary of State and Chief of Navy.

"Since joining, Montenegro has fully integrated into the NATO Command Structure and proven itself as a dependable Ally,” Foggo said.  "It has enhanced international stability through its deployments to Afghanistan, Mali, Western Sahara, and the Horn of Africa. Montenegro has served as an example to other aspirants and readily shared with them lessons learned from the accession process.”

Acting Chief of Defense Brigadier General Ilija Dakovic expressed gratitude to NATO for its assistance with the full integration of Montenegro’s armed forces into the structure of the Alliance."The Armed Forces of Montenegro will remain fully dedicated to the common goals of the Alliance, preservation of peace in the region and world, to the development of neighbourly relations, and to creating preconditions for the development and progress of the society,” Dakovic stressed.

Despite being the new kids on the NATO block, Montenegro is no stranger to working with the Alliance.

The newest NATO member joined the Alliance’s Partnership for Peace program just a few months after regaining its independence in 2006. Montenegro also actively supported the NATO-led operation in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2014 and is now supporting the follow-on mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces.

Dakovic is optimistic toward training and exercises, including the potential participation of Montenegrin forces in operations under the command of the southern-Italy based JFC Naples.

"I am extremely satisfied with achieved agreements because both Montenegro and the Allies will benefit from the implementation of these exercises,” Dakovic said.  "Cooperation makes the region safer and more secure and increases significantly coordination of members of various structures to jointly and decisively address any challenges. By joint exercises, we show that we possess the capacities to manage the security of the region and beyond.”

Montenegro is the latest nation to join NATO since its founding on April 4, 1949.

Story by JFC Naples Public Affairs Office


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