The Council of Europe's Strasbourg headquarters (Council of Europe)
May 11, 2007 -- Montenegro has become the newest member of the Council of Europe, the continent's top rights and democracy watchdog.
Montenegrin Foreign Minister Milan Rocen signed the documents today during an accession ceremony at the council's headquarters in Strasbourg, France.
"I have the historic honor to greet you on behalf of the citizens and leadership of Montenegro," Rocen said. "This is a great day for us -- a day when we have become a fully fledged member of the Council of Europe, the oldest, distinguished pan-European organization."
In a separate development, Serbia is due today to take over the Council of Europe's chairmanship.
Serbia is taking over the six-month rotating chairmanship despite concerns among some Council of Europe officials about the election of an ultranationalist, Tomislav Nikolic, as the speaker of Serbia's parliament.