Mike Lee

Montenegro's bid to join NATO clears US Senate hurdle

Montenegro is on the verge of becoming NATO's newest member after ratification of the tiny Balkan nation's admission into the alliance cleared a procedural hurdle in the U.S. Senate.

Senators on Monday agreed overwhelmingly, 97-2, to end debate and hold a final vote later this week.

Montenegro is in the middle of a clash between the West and Russia over influence in the Balkans. The outcome could determine the way the region is heading: toward NATO and the European Union, or back to Russia's sphere of influence.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has pressed the Senate to act quickly, telling Senate leaders earlier this month that the chamber's approval should come...