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Ask the Government

                               Ask the Government

Minister Darmanović in interview with MINA News Agency: Traditional friendship with Russia is myth from the past

Published date 22.05.2017 18:00 | Author PR Service

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Podgorica, Montenegro (22 May 2017) -- Montenegro does not have a model for a democratic system in Russia, and the myth of the traditional friendship is related to the more distant past, Minister of Foreign Affairs Srđan Darmanović assessed, saying that membership in the European Union (EU) and NATO is not a whim of politicians, but the commitment.
He said that divisions has long existed in Montenegro, moving on other lines once, and in recent political history they were most expressed through the division on a national status.
“This had a reflection on the question of identity, so that are the old social cleavages reported on a new issue, and this time it is membership in NATO. This question, in fact, cuts much deeper that the mere membership in a military and political organisation is,” Minister Darmanović said in an interview with MINA News Agency.
He believes that these are divisions that symbolise commitment to traditionalist course eastward and modernising course to the values of Western democracies.  
“The same or similar social and political cleavages have previously been raised through the issue of ethnic identity (Montengrism – Serbianism) and the perception of the state status (independism – federalism). At this point, basically the same opponents clashed in the commitment for or against NATO, which is really just a new battle of the old historical and political rivals. Thereby, external participants have changed. Opposition to the values of modern democratic societies in Montenegro at the end of last century had patrons in Serbia, especially under the Milošević regime, and today Russia has assumed that role,” Minister Darmanović noted.
As he said, the former opponents of Montenegrin independence and Western values actually only changed the character of the leader, and Montenegro’s membership in NATO definitely strengthens the decision on independence in 2006, putting a stamp on the independence and security of the borders. 
In addition to the permanent security of borders and security, Montenegro’s membership in NATO is also a confirmation of its own security in the light of European integration. “EU has no more reason to wonder about the security of Montenegro, seeing it as a future member, because Montenegro is secured by the membership in NATO,” Minister Darmanović pointed out.
When it comes to relations with Russia, Minister Darmanović said that political relations between Podgorica and Moscow are in a downward trend in last two or three years, or, as he said, since Russia began to interfere in the issue of Montenegro’s membership in NATO. 
He explained that it is a political direction that Moscow has taken in recent years, which is recorded in seeking to fill the geopolitical vacuum wherever the opportunity arises. According to him, Russia’s approach could be described in the phrase “disturb and weaken NATO, or if possible, divide the EU.”
“The weakening and the division of EU and NATO interference is performed in the Western Balkans. Therefore, in order to achieve a new line of geopolitical divisions, it was necessary to prevent Montenegro to become a member of the Alliance, while it is known on the other hand that the EU will not be complete, free and unified if it fails to attract the Western Balkans under its wing,” Minister Darmanović stated, adding that Western Balkan will never be so stable if there is no additional source of stability such as the EU and NATO, for those who want it.
“To tell the truth, although I am a big admirer of culture, literature, creation of the Russian people and their heroism in the struggle against fascism, than their chess school whose domination was unparalleled in the history of the ancient game, I have to say that the story of the traditional friendship is rather related to myths, perhaps some of the facts from the 19th century or earlier, while my generation does not have any special attachment to it,” Minister of Foreign Affairs highlighted. This, as he said, leads to the principle that there is no eternal friend in politics, but only eternal interest. 
“We can not say that we have a model for a democratic system in Russia, so that our orientation is directed towards Euro-Atlantic integration,” the Minister said. “The only interest we have is to decide on our own future. Let’s hope the time will come when our relations will be better, because there are economic interests. We will try to establish a political dialogue as far as it depends on us, of course, now in a new situation, with all the obligations of a NATO member-state.”
According to him, the attempt of terrorist actions has left political consequences, even though it was unsuccessful. He believes that the real motive for the boycott was defeat in the elections, not a coup, which is quite clearly stated in accepting the election results by the opposition in cities where they won. This is, of course, so contradictory approach and this is a reason why the opposition version of October elections had no resonance for major international entities. 
“It is certain that the Government and the parliament have full legitimacy as for the election results, but of course it is not good that the opposition is trying to deny all by the tactics of parliamentary boycott. The normal solution would be that representatives of the Government and the opposition negotiate and conflict in the Parliament over what should be done in the future, because this is how every democratic system works,” he assessed.
When it comes to the integration of Montenegro into the EU, Minister Darmanović underlined that the roads are mainly planned and that our country follows the existing agenda, opening new chapters in the appropriate pace and continuing to close those that are open. As he stressed, Montenegro is a leader in the region when we talk about the European integration. If there is no possible slowdown or concern in the EU about enlargement, the dynamics will continue freely and we will, as planned, open and close the chapters. In this regard, the frame of three to five years is realistic for our membership in the EU, as he said.