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Mike Pence says future of Western Balkans is in the West


Montenegro

Mike Pence says future of Western Balkans is in the West

The US vice-president visiting Montenegro has said the region’s future lies in the West, two months after the ex-Yugoslav republic joined NATO in spite of Russia’s hostility.

Mike Pence’s comments came at the end of a European tour designed to reassure countries over Washington’s commitment to Eastern European security amid misgivings over the Trump administration’s stance.

“We truly believe the future of the Western Balkans is in the West and we look forward to reaffirming the commitment of the United States to build the relationships that will strengthen the ties between the European community, the Western Balkans and the United States of America,” Pence told his hosts at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Dusko Markovic.

Montenegro joined several other countries in the region who are also members of NATO. The US vice-president attended a summit of the Adriatic Charter including several other non-member nations.

Mike Pence praised the “courage” of his host country for standing up to Russian pressure.

Montenegro, an ex-Yugoslav republic with a population of 680,000 and an army of 2,000, joined the NATO military alliance in June, eight months after it accused Russian spies of orchestrating an attempted coup to derail the accession.