WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today urged his Senate colleagues to support a resolution of advice and consent for Montenegro’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Senate voted 97 to 2 on a procedural motion that clears the way for a vote on final passage of Montenegro’s accession to NATO later this week. The Constitution requires a two-thirds vote by the Senate before the U.S. can approve a new member of the treaty organization. All of NATO’s 28 current members have ratified Montenegro’s inclusion in the alliance except the United States. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the Montenegro resolution in December and again in January after it was reintroduced in the new Congress.
“Part of what makes NATO great is its open door,” said Corker. “We have moved this treaty ratification twice now – once in the last Congress and again in January – to demonstrate our commitment to NATO and Montenegro. I urge all of my colleagues to support this treaty amendment that serves American security interests for a strong NATO.”
In his remarks on the Senate floor, Corker highlighted the important role of NATO in coming to the aid of the United States following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“NATO was founded in 1949 as an alliance committed to the collective defense of its members – that an attack on one constitutes an attack on all,” Corker said. “The alliance’s self-defense clause has only been invoked once – after 9/11 – when our allies deployed with us into Afghanistan.”
He also reiterated the importance of all NATO members meeting their targets for spending on defense.
“NATO members have committed to spending two percent of their GDPs on their militaries, but only the United Kingdom, Estonia, Poland, Greece, and the United States currently hit that goal,” added Corker. “While the other members are working on growing their defense budgets, I have long held the belief that they must do so faster.”