- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 11, 2017

President Trump notified Senate leaders Tuesday that he approves of a move to formally add the Balkan nation of Montenegro into NATO, an expansion of the alliance that’s opposed by Russia.

In a letter to the Senate, Mr. Trump certified that the inclusion of Montenegro in NATO “will not have the effect of increasing the overall percentage share of the United States in the common budgets of NATO,” and that it will not keep the U.S. from meeting its other military funding requirements.

The Senate last month approved Montenegro’s bid to become a full-fledged member of NATO by a vote of 97 to 2.

Moscow opposes any expansion of NATO. Montenegro was formerly part of Yugoslavia, which was in Russia’s area of dominance during the Cold War.

Mr. Trump’s announcement comes a day ahead of his meeting at the White House with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Mr. Tump looks forward to welcoming Montenegro formally into the alliance at a NATO leaders meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on May 25. He said the move is “signaling to other NATO aspirants that the door to membership in the Euro-Atlantic community of nations remains open and that countries in the western Balkans are free to choose their own future and select their own partners without outside interference or intimidation.”

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