Italy Backs Montenegro's NATO Aspirations

(MENAFN- The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) Italian President Sergio Mattarella, on a visit to Montenegro on Tuesday, said that Rome considers the country ready to join the NATO alliance.

Italy supports Montenegro's bid to join NATO, Italian President Sergio Mattarella said at a meeting with his Montenegrin counterpart, Filip Vujanovic, on Tuesday.

Mattarella said he was confident that Montenegro would obtain an invitation to join the Western military alliance by the end of the year .

Because of its strategic location, NATO needs Montenegro, the Italian President noted.

Mattarella is the first Italian President to visit Montenegro in 32 years, although high-level meetings between officials of the two countries have been common, especially since the successful referendum on Montenegro's independence in 2006.

Mattarella told reporters in the country's old royal capital, Cetinje, that the two countries have strong historical links and a history of good cooperation in economy and justice, as well as "a common future in the EU and NATO."

According to official data, Italian investments in Montenegro in the last ten years total 580 million euro and Italy has been the largest investor in the country in the past five years.

"Cooperation betwean Italy and Montenegro has great potential so it can develop with great force," Mattarella said.

In addition to Vujanovic, Mattarella on Tuesday met the Montenegrin Prime Minister, Milo Djukanovic, and the speaker of parliament, Ranko Krivokapic.

Italian head of the state earlier visited Serbia on Monday where he met top officials and addressed Serbia's parliament. In Belgrade, he voiced support for Serbia's drive to joint the European Union.

Italy supports opening the first "chapters" of the negotiations between Serbia and EU as soon as possible, the Italian President said.

The Journal Of Turkish Weekly

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