Prime Minister of Montenegro Milo Đukanović
Interview with Croatian national television HRT
Broadcast: 25/10/2015/ prime time
Video recording: Prime Minister Đukanović’s interview with Croatian national television HRT
The organisers of the protest are accountable, it is pretty clear at least from political point of view. It is on the competent state authorities to determine accountability, and I certainly would not want to prejudge the result of their review of the material they will be provided by the competent institutions. I would like to remind you, that, in political terms, as I have announced on many occasions since the start of the opposition protests on 27 September, the protests will turn violent, which unfortunately happened last night and not earlier thanks an extremely lawful conduct primarily of the police and other state authorities which until last night stoically endured provocation of the people who participated in these public gatherings. At one point, as you could see last night, the protests turned violent in an attempt to capture state institutions, provoke a violent fall of the government and the change of the state politics. In such circumstances, the police was forced to act, and, in my opinion, they acted according to the Constitution, law and within police powers foreseen for dealing with such situations.
There is no doubt, I have spoken about that too often these days, it is about the nationalist circles from Serbia and it does not surprise us. The novelty is that the official Belgrade in no way interferes with, let’s say, the political turmoil. Unfortunately, the turmoil was not only of political kind. But, that is what the nationalist circles of Serbia have done before, and, as you can see, they are doing the same thing now. They are trying to forge what happened last night by publishing fictional newspaper articles, or distorting the facts. There is no doubt that Russia has had an active role in organising the anti-government protests in Podgorica.
We do not need special interpretations. Just take a look at the three press statements, which I have already referred to. One of them concerns my visit to Washington, the second statement appeared during the first phase of the protests, when the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that is, its press department, gave a statement to the Belgrade-based Beta news agency, and the third one, which happened last Saturday when the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement implying that the Montenegrin path to NATO could be problematic from the standpoint of stability, democratic development, etc. Therefore, I think there is enough facts suggesting that the organisers of the protests in Montenegro, unfortunately, enjoyed strong support from outside of Montenegro and that, I would say, the joint ambition was to block Montenegro’s path towards European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
Well, I guess that everyone is familiar with that, we had have such relations since the ’97, when Montenegro decided to make a decisive and essential shift in its national politics. It was a time of conflicts with Milošević’s politics, which the today’s opposition strongly supported criticising our intention to take the path of European and Euro-Atlantic integration. All this continued throughout the ’99, when Milošević established the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia – the war with NATO when Montenegro clearly distanced itself from his politics. Such bad relations continued at the time of Vojislav Koštunica as prime minister of Serbia, who did everything to prevent Montenegro from organising the referendum. Unfortunately, the same continued even after the referendum, and it was a dominant course of the official Belgrade. The current Serbian government, however, has made a serious turn in our relationship. I would say a significant recovery of the intergovernmental cooperation between Serbia and Montenegro is underway, and that the processes bringing benefits to the region as a whole are in progress.
I do think that the police were acting according to the law. You know, when someone forces you to use force in order to defend the state from those who want to violate its constitutional order, then you need to do so. I think that the police last night resorted to the mildest use of force by using chemicals only to clear off the situation in front of the Parliament. Unfortunately, it did not affect only those who were aggressive, but all the people having been gathered there as well. I’m sorry about what happened last night, but I think we really should not prejudge and condemn the police. I think that the police acted in a professional manner and within the powers. We will certainly examine each individual case and if there were any violation of police powers, the competent authorities would undertake appropriate measures.
When it comes to the recent decision of Croatia to increase the number of police officers at the Prevlaka border, PM Đukanović said that he could not comment on the official press release issued by the friendly neighbouring country, adding that all the explanations are related to the new expected wave of migrants who could open a new route throughout Montenegro and Croatia in order to reach other EU countries. “I do want to believe that Croatia made a reasonable decision to strengthen the police activities on the Croatian-Montenegrin border and that the two countries have developed professional cooperation when it comes to the exchange of information within the police authorities,” PM Đukanović emphasised.
With regard to Montenegro’s Euro-Atlantic integration, PM Đukanović said that the official Zagreb fully supports the country’s path towards NATO Alliance. “I think that it implies good neighbourly relations and partnership between the two countries, but most of all it represents a responsible attitude towards preserving stability of the entire region,” PM Đukanović stressed. He voiced belief that the Croatian state policy recognised Montenegro as a leader in the region when it comes to pursuing its foreign policy goals, hopeful it will result in inviting Montenegro to join the Alliance at the ministerial meeting scheduled for December.
Speaking about Montenegro’ domestic policy, PM Đukanović underlined that the country followed its well-defined strategic goal – European and Euro-Atlantic accession, stressing that these priorities require cooperation between the coalition partners (Democratic Party of Socialists and Social-Democratic Party) and joint efforts made by the two political stakeholders towards overcoming differences regarding the implementation of major development projects in the country. “Regardless of the existing differences between the coalition partners, we are committed to pursuing Euro-Atlantic agenda in order to get a NATO invitation letter by the end of the year,” PM Đukanović highlighted.
When asked whether he is ready to withdraw from power, PM Đukanović said that he had already done it twice, the first time after Montenegro restored independence in the referendum, and the second time in 2010 after Montenegro strengthened its position in the region. “Now, I work very hard with my team and there is no doubt that NATO accession process is the Government’s top priority,” PM Đukanović stressed, voicing belief that Montenegro will achieve the foreign policy goal very soon. In that regard, Montenegro would become more stable and close to achieving European quality of life, PM Đukanović concluded.
Youtube link: https://youtu.be/JDgKnd682jI
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Source: Government of Montenegro