MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The political course of Montenegro that aims at joining NATO without holding a nationwide referendum is counterproductive, the ministry stated.
"The necessity of taking into account the views of the citizens of Montenegro in deciding the fate of the country has been emphasized, as well as the counter-productiveness of official Podgorica’s course on dragging it [Montenegro] into NATO in circumvention of the referendum. The attention has been drawn to the egregious examples of gross interference in the domestic affairs of Macedonia, including by EU and NATO structures," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement summing up the points of the negotiations.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also stressed the importance of upholding and respecting the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Montenegro was invited to join NATO on December 2, 2015, in the alliance's first expansion into Eastern Europe in six years. Podgorica accepted the invitation the following day, which triggered protests in the Balkan nation. In May 2016, the Alliance members signed a protocol on Podgorica's accession, which should be ratified by all the NATO member states in order to allow Montenegro to become a full-fledged member.
Last month, US senators voted 97-2 on Washington's Senate floor in favor of Montenegro becoming a member of the 28-member military alliance, an important step for the Balkan country's inclusion into the international defense organization.
Earlier in the day, US President Donald Trump has signed the protocol on Montenegro’s accession to NATO, which completed the ratification of the document by Washington.