MOSCOW, December 7. /TASS/. The Balkans should stay away from geopolitical rivalry NATO is seeking to impose, Russia’s Permanent Representative at NATO Alexander Grushko said on Monday.
"We have always stood for peace and tranquility in the Balkans. We have always considered the countries of this region as friendly," he said at a Moscow-Brussels videoconference. "Russia has never imposed any choice on these countries."
"But we believe that this region should stay away from geopolitical rivalry NATO is seeking to unleash today," the Russian diplomat stressed. "It should be borne in mind that this is a sensitive region and any attempts we are seeing today will lead to unnecessary tension."
According to the diplomat, NATO will gain no benefits from inviting Montenegro to join its ranks, and it is unlikely to do anything good for European security.
"It is a geopolitical concept. There will be no real gains for NATO or European security from extending an invitation to Montenegro. It is clear that no one is threatening Montenegro," the Russian diplomat said.
"It is an attempt to push for the agenda from an era of confrontation," Grushko said.
The NATO foreign ministers officially invited Montenegro to start negotiations on joining NATO at a summit in Brussels on Wednesday. The talks are expected to last from 18 months to two years. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hurried to assure that Montenegro’s integration with NATO was not directed against Russia and was of no relation to it.