NATO formally invited Montenegro into its alliance on 2 December 2015 – ‘for the sake of common security’. This country will become the 29th member of the military alliance.
In an exclusive interview Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius has told Belsat TV about global threats, NATO expansion and Russia’ role on the international scene.
Belsat: What is the main threat to Europe’s and the world’s security at the moment?
Firstly, it is the issue of terrorism. Secondly, it is the issue of migration which has a natural aspect of a security threat. Thirdly, it is the conflict in Syria.
Two months ago Russia came to Syria. How would you comment on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s words: “It is time we encouraged the Russian government to eventually attack the Islamic State’s targets?
Russia has been fighting against the Islamists only in words, not in deeds. It is difficult to cooperate with Russia, when 80% of its goals have nothing to do with the Islamic State. There is no question of cooperation – we can only coordinate certain actions.
We are not a partner to Russia on the issue of Syria, and there is no partnership on the issue of Ukraine. In our relations with Russia, we take into account day-to-day realities on reality, not Russia’s statements and intentions.
Could NATO use its military to solve the migration problem – for example, to deal with migrant smugglers?
I doubt that their direct participation is possible. Perhaps, they will be involved indirectly.
What can you say about Montenegro’s accesion to NATO?
Article Nr 10 of the Washington Treaty is still relevant. The door to NATO is open. Indeed, some countries have been trying to enter it for ten years, but becoming a member of the alliance is quite possible. It is enough to meet all the necessary criteria. The process of joining NATO is transparent.
Will NATO become stronger after the accession of Montenegro?
I can say that it will not become weaker.
Ales Silich, Belsat