SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s a great pleasure to welcome the prime minister. We consider our partnership with Montenegro to be very strong, and we look forward to it becoming even more important in the future.
Prime Minister Djukanovic and I discussed a range of issues. We particularly focused on the Western Balkans and the role that Montenegro is playing to ensure stability. I congratulated the prime minister on Montenegro achieving MAP status with NATO, and pledged the United States’ support for Montenegro becoming an integral part of the Euro-Atlantic community.
I offered the support of the United States as Montenegro makes some of the reforms in the rule of law area that both NATO and the European Union are looking to see. And I thanked the Prime Minister for his country’s commitment to sending infantry troops to be part of the international force in Afghanistan.
And finally, I was delighted to receive an invitation to visit Montenegro sometime in the future, which I would very much hope to be able to fulfill.
PRIME MINISTER DJUKANOVIC (via interpreter) Ladies and gentlemen, before I begin, I would like to thank Secretary of State Clinton for the overall support that the U.S. has given Montenegro towards its European and Atlantic integration.
I would like to recall that during a difficult period in the Balkans in the 1990s, that we managed to build a strong mutual trust. That cooperation has helped us understand the values of the American society and has helped us restore Montenegrin independence in a situation and in conditions of full stability and to move today steadily towards European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
I wish to thank Secretary Clinton in support – for the support to Montenegro in pursuing our goal, which is membership action plan at NATO. And at the same time, I would like to say that we stand ready to work hard to fulfill all the obligations in the next stages of our integration. And I would like to announce with confidence that Montenegro will be the next state to become a new member of NATO. Our two challenges for the future are improving, enhancing the rule of law, and we stand committed to doing this in order to improve the quality of life of our citizens and achieve our European and Euro-Atlantic goals at – as early, as soon as possible.
And I would like to reiterate on this occasion too that Montenegro is and will remain a responsible and reliable partner to the U.S. and EU in dealing with the still outstanding issues in the Balkans. And we will also work closely with our partners in other places beyond our region, starting with Afghanistan.
And finally, I would like to say how grateful I am to Secretary Clinton for accepting our invitation, and I will be looking forward to her visiting Montenegro at a period convenient to her.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. Thank you all very much.
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