NATO Says Yes to Montenegro

NATO members’ foreign ministers on Thursday formally invited Montenegro to become the alliance’s 29th member, despite Russian opposition. With the signing of the “Accession Protocol,” the Balkan nation can now observe all NATO meetings, but won’t become an official member until each member’s government approves the deal, according to a NATO release. The foreign ministers are in Brussels for two days of meetings ahead of the alliance’s Warsaw Summit in July. During Thursday’s meetings, alliance members agreed to send an assessment team to Iraq to determine whether the alliance should send its trainers there, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during a press conference. Stoltenberg said the foreign ministers also agreed to keep preparing to help Libya build defense and security institutions. In his own press conference, US Secretary of State John Kerry said no one suggested NATO play a combat role in Libya. “But there is a complementary support kind of role that NATO can play in order to augment the resources and the focus, the visibility, and the interpretation of what is happening in the region,” he said, and “to empower those people who are on the ground to be able to engage in the fight that they have chosen to be engaged in.” (See also: Arming Libya.)