BUDAPEST, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto on Friday called for accelerating the process of admitting Montenegro to NATO and the European Union (EU).
Szijjarto claimed that Montenegro's integration into the EU and NATO could guarantee long-term stability and peace in the region.
Szijjarto made the remarks after a meeting with Montenegrin Foreign Minister Srdjan Darmanovic.
Szijjarto warned that tension from past differences and the ongoing threat of migration could destabilize the region if effects accumulate.
Montenegro has been in negotiations to join NATO since 2010, and was formally invited to join in 2015. An accession protocol was signed in 2016, but several countries, most notably the United States, have not yet ratified it.
Hungary has been serving as the liaison between NATO and Montenegro since 2010. Szijjarto said he hoped the stragglers would ratify the protocol as soon as possible.
Montenegro has also been negotiating EU membership since becoming independent. Formal accession negotiations between the EU and Montenegro began in 2012 and are expected to be concluded in 2019.
Szijjarto said Hungary is the fourth largest investor in Montenegro.
On his part, Darmanovic said membership in NATO and the EU had been his country's strategic foreign policy objectives since it became independent in 2006.