US Vice President Mike Pence told Wednesday the leaders of the Western Balkans that Russia was trying to destabilise the Western Balkan region and divide the region from each other and from the rest of Europe, but that the US strongly supports the countries of the region as long as they are on the path to the EU and NATO.
“As you well know, Russia continues to seek to redraw international borders by force. And here, in the Western Balkans, Russia has worked to destabilize the region, undermine your democracies, and divide you from each other and from the rest of Europe. Russia’s intentions were laid bare over the past year when Moscow-backed agents sought to disrupt Montenegro’s elections, attack your parliament and even attempt to assassinate your Prime Minister to dissuade the Montenegrin people from entering our NATO Alliance,” said Vice President Pence at the Adriatic Charter Summit in Podgorica, which, besides Prime Minister of Montenegro Duško Marković, was also attended by prime ministers of Macedonia, Croatia, Albania, Slovenia, and Serbia, Zoran Zaev, Andrej Plenković, Edi Rama, Miroslav Cerar and Ana Brnabić, as well as President of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina Denis Zvizdić.
Vice President Pence said that US President Donald Tramp sent him personally to Montenegro as a sign of the United States’ continued commitment to the Western Balkans and that the United States will continue to support each of the countries of the region.
“And let there be no doubt: The Adriatic Charter is fulfilling its purpose to bring the states of the Western Balkans closer together into a most successful defence alliance in history, NATO itself,” said the Vice President of the United States.
US Vice President repeatedly stressed the importance of Montenegro’s membership in NATO.
“It is a special honour for me to be here today, as the very first Vice President of the United States to ever visit Montenegro,” Vice President Pence noted.
Speaking about Montenegro, Vice President Pence thanked Prime Minister of Montenegro Duško Marković for his leadership and hospitality.
“I actually had the privilege to personally congratulate Prime Minister Marković at the White House on that very historic day. Mr. Prime Minister, on behalf of President Trump, and here with other NATO allies, allow me to thank you for your leadership and allow me to congratulate you and the people of Montenegro once again for successfully acceding to NATO,” said US Vice President Mike Pence.
The Vice President of the United States called on this generation of leaders of the countries of the region to tackle corruption and build responsible and transparent governments, strengthen the economy and settle grievances of the past.