Montenegro parliament ratifies NATO membership accord

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Montenego’s parliament ratified the country’s membership agreement with NATO on Friday, taking the tiny former Yugoslav republic one step closer to becoming the 29th member of the Atlantic alliance.

Forty-six of 81 deputies voted in favor of the agreement.

All but two of the NATO allies have now ratified the accord, which is strongly opposed by Russia, a country with strong historic and cultural ties to Montenegro.

Podgorica hopes to formally join NATO at a summit next month.

Montenegro has a population of 650,000 and a military of only 2,000, but it is strategically positioned along the Adriatic coast and surrounded by NATO members or hopefuls, except Serbia which maintains a military neutrality.

(Reporting by Petar Komnenic; Writing by Ivana Sekularac; Editing by Gareth Jones)