Montenegro voted NATO membership

Montenegro’s parliament ratified the membership agreement with NATO on Friday, taking the former Yugoslav republic a step closer to becoming the 29th member of the alliance despite protests over its 1999 bombing campaign.

Outside the parliament, where 46 of 81 deputies voted in favour of the agreement, several hundred anti-NATO supporters burned the NATO flag and demand a referendum on membership.

Montenegro’s accession would mark the first expansion of NATO ranks into ex-Communist eastern Europe since its neighbours Albania and Croatia joined in 2009, and the first since relations between Russia and the West hit a post-Cold War low with the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

“NATO membership will provide a safer and better life for all citizens in Montenegro,” Prime Minister Dusko Markovic told the parliament session, held in the town of Cetinje, the royal seat of the mediaeval state.

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