Albania PM calls Montenegro NATO entry historic for Balkans

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Albanian PM Edi Rama yesterday in Podgorica to meet with his Montenegrin counterpart PM Dusko Markovic

PODGORICA, Montenegro — Albania’s prime minister says neighboring Montenegro’s upcoming accession into NATO is a “historic event” for the troubled Balkan region.

Prime Minister Edi Rama said Monday that Montenegro’s entry into the military alliance would mean that the “entire Adriatic and Ionian coast will become a zone of NATO.”

Montenegro is slated to join NATO once all 28 member states confirm the entry in their parliaments. The U.S. Senate gave its approval last week.

Russia strongly opposes NATO’s expansion in the Balkans. Montenegro accuses Moscow of plotting an election day coup in October to try to keep the country out of the alliance.

Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic says he expects accession opponents to organize protests ahead of parliamentary ratification of the entry protocol in coming weeks. Markovic says protests are “legitimate.”

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.