Senator Collins thanked Maine National Guard members from the Senate floor yesterday for their work to help Montenegro meet NATO requirements
Click HERE to watch an excerpt of Senator Collins’ floor remarks
Washington, D.C. - This evening, U.S. Senator Susan Collins voted in favor of the resolution of ratification to approve Montenegro’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The ratification was approved by a vote of 97-2. Yesterday, Senator Collins spoke from the Senate floor to commend the efforts by the Maine National Guard to prepare Montenegro to become a member of the transatlantic alliance.
Over the past decade, the State of Maine has formed a special relationship with Montenegro through the State Partnership Program. This Department of Defense program links a state’s National Guard to a partner nation to help foster cooperative relationships. The Maine National Guard entered a partnership with Montenegro in December 2006.
“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. “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. The country has already 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.
“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.
The legislative bodies of 27 of 28 NATO countries have already ratified Montenegro’s ascension to NATO.