WASHINGTON The Balkan nation of Montenegro was on the verge of getting to be NATO’s most recent member on Monday after U.S. senators voted overwhelmingly to crystal clear the way for a extensive-delayed ultimate vote on its accession to the alliance.
The vote was ninety seven-two in favor of ending discussion and making it possible for a vote later this week on the ratification of its NATO membership, far more than the 60 required. The only two “no” votes came from Republican Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee.
Just before the vote, Paul argued that there was no stage in forcing American taxpayers to choose on the risk of defending this kind of a little nation if it were being attacked, a issue of membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Corporation.
Arguing that Montenegro has only two,000 folks in its armed service, Paul reported its membership would “increase one more nation to the welfare wagon of NATO.”
Backers of the previous Yugoslav republic’s membership reported it was crucial to assistance the nations of eastern Europe that share democratic values versus Russian aggression, and to fortify their ties to the West.
“Montenegro is making an attempt to do all the things that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin hates, the place you essentially can vote for your personal leaders,” reported Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, 1 of the party’s major international policy voices.
Reuters described past week that Secretary of Condition Rex Tillerson wrote to the leaders of the Senate previously this month to say Montenegro’s membership in NATO was “strongly in the interests of the United States.”
The vote in the U.S. Senate experienced been held up for months as Senators Paul and Lee blocked a fast vote.
Senate aides reported they predicted a ultimate vote on Tuesday or Wednesday. They reported they predicted Montenegro’s NATO membership would obtain the essential two-thirds bulk.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle Enhancing by Jonathan Oatis)