The Czech Senate on Wednesday gave official backing to Montenegro's accession to NATO, initiating the ratification process in the Czech Republic. The document, which still has to be approved by the lower house, received support from 39 out of 49 senators present. The Czech Foreign Ministry has consistently supported Montenegro’s efforts to join Western structures with Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek saying that the country’s presence in NATO would have a positive influence on stability in the western Balkans. The accession protocol needs to be ratified by all 28 NATO member states. So far it has been approved by ten countries.