A statement by French President Francois Hollande about temporarily halting NATO enlargement process is being reviewed in Montenegro and Georgia.
Hollande said after his meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Paris on March 2 that “France’s position for the moment is to refuse any new membership.”
Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic told reporters on March 4 that in his opinion, Hollande’s statement was likely influenced by current efforts to resolve the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and concerns about antagonizing Russia, which has been critical of NATO expansion plans.
Djukanovic added that the Montenegrin government will ask Paris for clarifications of the Hollande’s statement.
The NATO coordinator at the Montenegrin Foreign Ministry, Vesko Garcevic, told journalists on March 4 that his team had “carefully analyzed” the original transcript of Hollande’s statement, and concluded that the statement “was given during a segment of the talks which focused on the European crisis” and therefore cannot be considered as a change in NATO’s policies regarding new members.
The secretary of the Atlantic Council of Montenegro, Savo Kentera, told RFE/RL on March 4 that he could “accept that one of the 28 member states may be blocking our membership bid, until we meet certain conditions.”