The U.S. Senate will vote next week on approving Montenegro's bid to become the newest member of the NATO alliance, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on March 23.
The move to schedule a vote on the long-delayed Montenegro accession bid came after the Trump administration urged lawmakers to quickly take up the matter this week.
Reuters reported on March 21 that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had written to the leaders of the Senate to say Montenegro's membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was "strongly in the interests of the United States."
All 28 of NATO's members must ratify Montenegro's accession before it can formally join the alliance. Only four members have not approved it. The vote in the U.S. Senate was blocked for months by two Republican senators, Rand Paul and Mike Lee, who oppose expanding the military alliance.
McConnell announced on March 23 that he will force a vote on the matter next week by scheduling a procedural vote on March 27 that should clear the way for action by the full Senate.
Senate aides said they expect the Senate will approve of Montenegro's NATO membership once the procedural hurdles are cleared.
With reporting by Reuters