28 September 2019 - The United States Embassy in Montenegro confirmed yesterday that U.S. Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, will visit Montenegro. From October 1 to 6, Pompeo will travel to Montenegro, Italy, the Holy See, North Macedonia, and Greece.
U.S. Embassy spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, announced that Pompeo would take part in the U.S. and Holy See Symposium on Partnering with Faith-Based Organizations, where he will deliver keynote remarks. He will have a private audience with His Holiness Pope Francis, and meet with Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin and Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Gallagher.
In Rome, Italy, the Secretary will meet with President Mattarella, Prime Minister Conte, and Foreign Minister Di Maio. He will also visit Abruzzo to tour his ancestral home.
The Secretary will then travel to Montenegro, where he will meet with President Đukanović, Prime Minister Duško Marković, and Foreign Minister Darmanović. It will be the first official visit of a U.S. Secretary of State to Montenegro since the restoration of its state independence in 2006, reports Aljazeera. Pompeo, one of U.S. President Donald Trump's closest associates, will emphasize the importance of partnership and alliance between the two countries in NATO, a senior State Department official said at a press briefing on Pompeo's European tour, which was held on the sidelines of a United Nations General Assembly session.
Pompeo will also emphasize NATO's openness to new members and the contribution Montenegro has made as a small country to the Alliance in terms of geographical location and entry to the Adriatic Sea.
Asked by Voice of America about the significance and timing of the visit, the official said Montenegro was an important ally and that "the secretary of state is looking forward to the historic opportunity to visit it."
A senior State Department official said the U.S. remains highly engaged and focused on the Western Balkans region, which is strategically important to Europe's vision of being united, free and at peace, which is confirmed with the Secretary of State's decision to appoint a Special Representative for the Balkans, Matthew Palmer.
After his visit to Montenegro, Secretary will travel to North Macedonia, where he will meet with President Pendarovski, Prime Minister Zaev, and other government officials. The Secretary will also tour the Holy Mother of God “Peribleptos” monastery complex while visiting Lake Ohrid.
Finally, the Secretary will travel to Athens, Greece, where he will meet with Prime Minister Mitsotakis, Foreign Minister Dendias, and Defense Minister Panagiotopoulos.