U.S. wishes to reinforce partnerships with Montenegro, Western Balkans: U.S. VP

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-02 23:48:46|Editor: yan
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BELGRADE, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- The United States wants to further reaffirm its commitment to Montenegro and other Western Balkan countries by strengthening bilateral ties and their relations with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), U.S. Vice President Michael Pence said on Wednesday.

Pence made the statement after his meeting with Montenegro's Prime Minister Dusko Markovic and on the heels of the country becoming a NATO member in early June.

Montenegro is the last stop on Pence's European tour which started in Estonia, followed by a visit to Georgia in an effort to strengthen the bilateral ties of the U.S. with regional countries and to improve their cooperation with NATO.

He is to take part in a summit in Montenegro with leaders of members of the Adriatic Charter -- Montenegro, Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina -- as well as observers in this association.

"I look forward today to our continued discussion on ways in which we could further enhance our bilateral ties and further affirm the commitment of the U.S. to the Western Balkans," Pence said at a press conference after his meeting with Markovic.

Pence said the future of the Western Balkans was "in the West."

Congratulating Montenegro on its recent NATO membership, Pence said "We cherish our new alliance with Montenegro through NATO...We consider the accession to NATO to be an historic achievement of Montenegro and a sign of the strength of this country ten years after its independence," he stressed.

Markovic pointed out that the "strategic partnership of Montenegro and the United States was proclaimed on June 5 when Montenegro became a full member of NATO and when the country irreversibly tied its destiny to those values promoted and defended by this alliance."

"I am confident that our talks today will additionally reinforce our determination to enrich our cooperation primarily in the area of economy. We expect open and concrete exchange of opinions among the leaders of the Adriatic Charter at a special summit later on during the day," Markovic said.