PP RUEHIK RUEHYG
DE RUEHPOD #0222 2351708
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P R 221708Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY PODGORICA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0922
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEHPOD/AMEMBASSY PODGORICA 1007 UNCLAS PODGORICA 000222
EUR FOR SCE AND RPM
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: MONTENEGRIN MOD AND MFA READY TO ROLL UP THEIR SLEEVES FOR
NATO INTENSIFIED DIALOGUE
REF: (A) PODGORICA 217 (B) STATE 83586
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Following the Ambassador's discussion of
Montenegro's NATO aspirations with PM Djukanovic (Ref A), both
the Defense and Foreign Ministers reaffirmed the GOM's interest
in seeking a MAP invitation at the 2009 NATO Summit. They also
welcomed the idea of regular bilateral consultations to assess
GoM's progress (Ref A). An informal group, consisting of GOM
and Embassy representatives, will meet periodically to monitor
Montenegro's process toward intensifying its relationship with
the Alliance (Ref B). End Summary.
2. (SBU) On August 20, the Ambassador, DCM, and DATT met with
Montenegrin Defense Minister Boro Vucinic and later with Foreign
Minister Milan Rocen. Both had heard from PM Djukanovic about
his discussion with the Ambassador and emphasized their desire
to see Montenegro invited into MAP by the 2009 Summit. They
pledged to speed up the pace of work in intensifying relations
with NATO and welcomed the illustrative set of priorities
provided by the USG. Both said they understood the Ambassador's
repeated caveats that these priorities do not represent a
"checklist" and that fulfillment of them would not guarantee
U.S. guarantee support for an invitation to MAP at the April
3. (SBU) Rocen urged that Montenegro not be lumped together
with other NATO candidates, but be considered strictly on its
own merits. He emphasized that the GoM views progress toward
NATO as complementary to steps toward the EU -- "two paths to
the same goal." Both ministers acknowledged the currently weak
public support for Montenegro joining NATO but insisted that the
number of Montenegrins favoring membership is rising.
4. (SBU) The Ambassador described the concept he had discussed
with the Prime Minister, which would involve regular bilateral
consultations at a senior level to monitor Montenegro's progress
in stepping up its links with the Alliance. All agreed that
these consultations should be informal. Each minister stressed
the need to start as quickly as possible to accomplish all that
must be done in the months before NATO's spring 2009 Summit.
This working group will likely begin meeting in early September.
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