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Am Vershbow

Marshall Center Professor Dr. Valbona Zeneli (left) moderates a discussion with NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow at the “To Be Secure Conference” in Budva, Montenegro, May 6. (Contributed Photo).

By Marshall Center Public Affairs

Dr. Valbona Zeneli introduced and moderated the discussion with NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow at the “To Be Secure Conference” in Budva, Montenegro, May 6.

During the discussion, Ambassador Vershbow stressed NATO membership has enabled countries to overcome historic rivalries and work together to reach common goals.

"Membership in NATO has enabled countries to pool their resources, to greatly enhance the defense bang that they receive for their tax-payers' buck.  It allows members to join up their forces, intelligence and expertise, making everyone safer", Ambassador Vershbow said.  He added that NATO membership gives Montenegro a seat at the table and the ability to shape NATO policy.

Zeneli also moderated a panel discussion “Helming NATIO on the High Seas of Transatlantic Security.”

On the panel were Odeta Barbullushi, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Albania; Igor Crnadak, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Dr. Milica Pejanović-Đurišić, Minister of Defense of Montenegro; and Robert Bell, Secretary of Defense Representative in Europe.  

According to Zeneli, Dr Milica Pejanović Đurišić noted that we are proving every day that it is not about the size of the country, but about its values and that we should keep the direction of fostering what we have already achieved. Security is a precondition for overall progress and development.  Bell stated that Montenegro had a positive story for the NATO accession process since its spending already above 2% discussed at the Wales Summit and concluded that we are all faced with imminent threats and our task is to find right balance for burden sharing.

More than 350 people were in attendance at this year’s sixth meeting of the “To Be Secure” forum.