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McCain lauds NATO as Montenegro joins alliance

U.S. Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on Monday as Montenegro became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization:

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization became one member stronger today as the organization formally accepted the accession of Montenegro to the alliance. The first NATO enlargement in eight years represents a significant step toward greater transatlantic integration at a pivotal time. Given the increasingly complex challenges we face on both sides of the Atlantic, NATO has never been more important. In the face of renewed Russian aggression, increasingly frequent terror attacks, and looming cybersecurity threats, the transatlantic alliance must stand together. We welcome the assistance of Montenegro as the 29th NATO member state in combatting these threats.

President Vujanovic, Prime Minister Markovic, and the government of Montenegro boldly withstood pressure from Vladimir Putin's Russia to reach this historic day. Today's accession ceremony sends a powerful message to Vladimir Putin that Russia will not determine the fate of the free peoples of the world and that their democratic aspirations will prevail. Furthermore, the Senate's overwhelming 97-2 vote in favor of Montenegro's accession earlier this year demonstrates the strength of U.S. commitment to the NATO alliance and to a Europe whole, free and at peace.

It is fitting that today also marks the 70th anniversary of the drafting of the Marshall Plan, the triumph of transatlantic cooperation that saved the West. Seventy years later, America's commitment to defend the free world, promote democratic values, and ensure security and stability in Europe must remain strong.

John McCain is a Republican Senator from Arizona.

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com