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Russia's Lavrov Sees 'Frantic' Rush On Montenegro NATO Membership

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made his remarks at an OSCE meeting in Hamburg.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he believes "frantic attempts are being made to pull Montenegro into NATO" before the end of U.S. President Barack Obama's term in January.

Speaking in Germany on December 9 on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Hamburg, Lavrov added that "we are not interfering in this process, but I think that the unattractiveness of these frantic efforts is clear to everyone."

He said that NATO should "hold consultations" with the Montenegrin people over the Balkan country's membership bid.

In October, the government of Montenegro arrested 21 people, including two Russians and three Serbian citizens, on suspicion that they were trying to foment a coup to prevent the election of a government that supported the NATO membership drive.

Last month, NATO Secretary-General Jen Stoltenberg said whether Montenegro joins the alliance is a matter for that country and the 28 NATO member states.

"Any interference into elections in any sovereign nation is absolutely unacceptable," Stoltenberg said.

NATO issued Montenegro a membership invitation in December 2015 and signed an accession protocol in May.

The process of ratifying its membership could be completed by the spring of 2017.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax