Montenegro to vote on membership in NATO

Montenegrin lawmakers are set to ratify the Balkan country's membership in NATO and make a historic turn toward the West despite protests from traditional ally Russia and pro-Russian opposition.

The Montenegrin parliament will convene later on Friday to ratify the accession treaty with the Western military alliance. Opposition parties say they will boycott the session and hold a demonstration instead.

Montenegro's pro-NATO government has urged lawmakers to approve the entry protocol. Officials have said that joining NATO will bring stability and economic benefits after centuries of turmoil.

The government says: "In the current geo-political environment, Montenegro must rationally look at all options and make a decision that will best protect its national, security and economic interests."

Russia has been angered by NATO expansion in Montenegro, Moscow's traditional zone of interest.