Bulgarian MPs Approve Montenegro's Accession to NATODefense | June 30, 2016, Thursday // 10:43| views
The plenary chamber of the Bulgarian National Assembly. Photo: BGNES
The Bulgarian parliament approved on Thursday the accession of Montenegro to NATO and ratified the Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty.
A total of 154 MPs voted in favour, five were against and one lawmaker abstained, daily Dnevnik informs.
The decision for Montenegro's accession was taken at the meeting of the foreign ministers of NATO member countries held in Brussels in December last year. The ministers officially signed the protocol on May 19 this year.
The President of the Parliament of Montenegro, Darko Pajovic, arrived in Bulgaria for the vote on the ratification and witnessed the debates in the plenary chamber.
The chairperson of the parliamentary group of the largest ruling party GERB, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, congratulated Montenegro and reminded that the country had participated in peacekeeping missions in Somalia and Afghanistan.
The deputy chairperson of the second largest opposition Movement for Rights and Freedoms, Yanko Yankov, said that it was Bulgaria's duty to respect the choice of the people of Montenegro.
According to him, with Montenegro's accession, Europe is to become safer and more stable.
In his words, the countries from the Balkans can also rely on Bulgaria's support on their way to European integration as the EU needs more stability and more members.
Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov was firm that Montenegro should be part of NATO. He added that Bulgaria has always supported the enlargement of the Alliance as this brings greater stability to the Western Balkans.
Mitov stated that it was in Bulgaria's national interest to have as many neighbouring countries part of NATO as possible in order to ensure an environment of regional security.
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