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News Diplomacy

Ankara lends support to Montenegro’s bids for membership in NATO, EU
Milan Rocen
Describing Montenegro as a country symbolizing stability in the Balkans, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday voiced Turkey's support for Montenegro's efforts to become a member of both NATO and the European Union.

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The remarks by Babacan, who is also Turkey's chief EU negotiator, came at a joint press conference in the capital with his visiting Montenegrin counterpart, Milan Rocen. The visit by Rocen is the first official visit from Montenegro to Turkey after the West Balkan country declared independence in June 2006. During their meeting, the two ministers -- who discussed at length ways of improving economic ties -- signed a bilateral cooperation agreement on diplomats' training as well as an agreement for visa exemption. "Montenegro is indeed a country which symbolizes stability in the Balkans; a country that has rapidly made reforms following its independence and which has rapidly improved its relations with both NATO and the EU. … As Turkey, we have been supporting Montenegro's NATO membership process as well as its process of gaining candidate status for EU membership," Babacan said. Soon after declaring independence, Montenegro became a member of the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The country, a member of the Council of Europe since May 2007, is also a potential candidate for European Union membership.

19 January 2008, Saturday

TODAY'S ZAMAN  ANKARA
   

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