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Last week, President Donald Trump said Montenegro could start World War III. On Thursday, the country released a statement to let people know that it is the least likely to start a war.
“They have very strong people — they have very aggressive people. They may get aggressive, and congratulations, you're in World War III. Now, I understand that — but that's the way it was set up. Don't forget, I just got here a little more than a year and a half ago. But I took over the conversation three or four days ago, and I said, 'You have to pay.'”
The last half of his comments referred to defense spending from NATO alliances.
Trump says he's bothered by provisions of NATO that require the US to come to the defense of other member countries. pic.twitter.com/2xY1FjBTSn
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 18, 2018
Montenegro's statement respectfully but firmly negated Trump's claims.
“We build friendships, and we have not lost a single one,” the statement read. “At the same time, we are able to boldly and defensively protect and defend our own national interests.”
The statement also emphasized the country's commitment to peace.
“Montenegro is proud of its history and tradition and peaceful politics that led to the position of a stabilising state in the region and the only state in which the war didn't rage during disintegration of the former Yugoslavia,” it read.
Montenegro has an estimated population of 642,000 people, which is about the size of Louisville, Kentucky. Ivo Daalder, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, said Trump's comments were far-fetched.
“I have no idea where Trump gets the idea Montenegro is 'very aggressive,'” Daalder told The New Yorker.
He continued by saying that any aggressive behavior would come from Moscow, if from anywhere.
“[Montenegro has] been independent twelve years and never even came close to starting any war. In fact, two years ago, months before Montenegro would accede to NATO, a Moscow-backed coup attempt sought to prevent it from joining the Alliance. If there's been aggression, it's come from Moscow, not Montenegro.”
Despite the president's adamant claims, Montenegro closed its statement without any bad blood.
“The friendship and the alliance of Montenegro and the United States of America is strong and permanent,” it concluded.