NATO's Secretary General says any attempt by Russia to interfere in Montenegro's bid to join the alliance would only boost the country's chances of membership.

Jens Stoltenberg said Friday "the aspiration of Montenegro to become a member of NATO is something that is up to Montenegro and NATO to decide."

Stoltenberg added that "no one else has the right to intervene or to interfere with that decision." He warned that "if any effect, Russian interference more likely will reinforce our interest to invite Montenegro to become a full member of the alliance."

NATO is expected to decide at a meeting on Dec. 1-2 whether to formally invite Montenegro to join. Russia — which has traditionally strong religious, cultural and historic influence in the Balkans — has been opposed.