From the Senate Floor, Senator Collins Thanks Maine National Guard Members for Their Work Preparing Montenegro to Join NATO

Senator Collins noted the special relationship between the Maine National Guard and Montenegro, voted to invoke cloture to advance the NATO Accession Treaty

Click HERE to watch an excerpt of Senator Collins’ floor remarks

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Susan Collins spoke from the Senate floor this evening to commend the efforts by the Maine National Guard to prepare Montenegro to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). With Senator Collins’ support, the Senate voted 97-2 to consider the resolution of ratification to approve Montenegro’s accession to NATO. Over the past decade, the Maine National Guard has formed a special relationship with this important ally.

“For the past ten years, with the assistance of the Maine National Guard through the State Partnership Program, Montenegro has worked hard to reform its military and to strengthen the rule of law to come into compliance with NATO requirements, as defined in its Membership Action Plan,” said Senator Collins from the Senate floor. “Even today, Maine National Guard members are deployed to Montenegro to assist its Ministry of Defense in furthering its integration into NATO standards and processes.”

“I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to all of the members of the Maine National Guard who have participated in this operation, including former and current adjutant generals, General Bill Libby and General Doug Farnham, as well as our current guardsman stationed in Montenegro, Army Captain Nicholas Philips,” Senator Collins continued. “All of them have worked very hard during the past ten years to help Montenegro get ready for this highly significant moment.”

Montenegro’s admission would eliminate a strategic gap in NATO along the eastern Adriatic Sea. Senator Collins has long supported efforts by Montenegro to join this key transatlantic alliance.

“Montenegro's accession to NATO will serve the strategic interests of the United States. It will help to promote stability in the Balkans, and it will make us safer… I have great confidence that Montenegro will meet the collective defense obligations of NATO membership,” Senator Collins remarked.

Montenegro already has proven its support for American interests, having sent troops to Afghanistan in support of NATO- and U.S.-led operations, and it voluntarily joined the European Union sanctions regime against Russia in response to Moscow’s illegal annexation of Crimea and destabilizing actions in eastern Ukraine, even though it is not an EU member.

The legislative bodies of 27 of 28 NATO countries have already ratified Montenegro’s ascension to NATO.