World Bulletin / News Desk
Pence, speaking at the Adriatic Charter Summit in Montenegro's capital Podgorica, said U.S. President Donald Trump had sent him personally to show Washington’s commitment to the Western Balkans.
Montenegro, which broke from Serbia in 2007, joined NATO in June despite Russian criticisms of the former Yugoslav republic’s move.
Moscow was also accused of masterminding an attempted coup in Montenegro in October 2016 to scupper its plans to join the alliance.
Following Montenegro's entry to NATO, Moscow hit out at what it called the country's "anti-Russian hysteria".
Pence, however, praised Montenegro for standing up to Russian pressure when it joined NATO:
"Let me assure you that the United States will continue to stand by you and jointly for your European future, whether it is an entry into NATO or the European Union, because each of these roads leads to a stronger Europe."
"Here in the Western Balkans, Russia has been trying to destabilize the region, undermining democracy and sharing you between each other and the rest of Europe," Pence added.
Pence -- the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the small Balkan state in 100 years -- also said the Adriatic Charter, signed in May 2003 between the United States, Croatia, Albania and Montenegro, “plays an important role in bringing the Western Balkans together with Europe”.
The Adriatic Charter was established by Albania, Croatia, Macedonia and the United States to help countries which wanted to join NATO.
Montenegro and Bosnia officially joined in 2008, while Serbia gained observer status.
Operation is aimed at restoring confidence after last year’s illegitimate poll on Kurdish regional independence
The U.S. State Department is negotiating a potential deal to sell Turkey the Raytheon Co Patriot missile defense system as an alternative to the Russian-made S-400 system Turkey has agreed to purchase, an official said on Monday.
ISIL still maintains a limited presence in northern and western Iraq
90 more migrants in critical condition found inside shipping containers
Obama arrived in his father's native Kenya on Sunday, where he paid courtesy calls on President Uhuru Kenyatta and main opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Tensions have steadily mounted in southern Iraqi province over unemployment and lack of basic services
Speaking in an interview with CBS Evening News conducted on Saturday ahead of his meeting with the Russian leader in Helsinki on Monday, the US president also sought to temper expectations about how much could be achieved.
FETO orchestrated the defeated coup, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured
The protests hit several provinces including Basra, despite Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announcing fresh funds and pledges of investment for the oil-rich but neglected region.
US director of documentary on FETO-linked schools in US says FETO terrorists spent 18 years spreading false image of group
Basra residents complain of high unemployment and lack of basic services
Ahead of the Helsinki meeting, here is a selection of remarks the two world leaders have made about each other.
Mladenov arrived in Gaza through the Erez crossing on Sunday