Hoyt Yee: Russia wants to strengthen its interests in Montenegro

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We want cooperation with all parties, based on values we consider important, such as democracy, rule of law, personal freedoms, respect for the independence of the judiciary and the media, and the Euro-Atlantic future. Our doors are open to all like-minded parties, but we have no intention to interfere in the election or the formation of the current government, in any way, said in an interview with Dan daily the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of the United States (US) and the European Eurasian Affairs, Hoyt Brian Yee. He said he also sees the efforts of Russia to strengthen its interests in the region.

“Definitely, we see that Russia wants to strengthen its interests in the region and, of course, in Montenegro. All countries are making efforts to strengthen their interests in the international arena. What is important is that any country, be it my own country, Russia, or any other country, if it wants to develop business or promote their interests in Montenegro, do it in a transparent and lawful manner. Of course, we are concerned about allegations that Russia is trying to influence elections here and in other countries, in a manner that is not transparent enough and is not completely legitimate. We hope, however, that the people will raise questions of campaign funding, whether foreign governments finance opposition parties or the parties in the ruling coalition. People have the right to know where the money’s coming from, and the motives behind this money. All in all, we believe that the government, opposition, civil society and the media can shed light on these questions, if they are responsible and if they are serious in addressing the issue of campaign financing. The role of the media is very important; the willingness and ability of the media to do investigative stories on this topic is of great importance”, Mr. Hoyt Yee said for the daily.

He also pointed out that one of the best ways to ensure free and fair elections is for citizens to exercise their democratic right to vote, to participate massively in the vote.

– And if any citizen sees something suspicious or inappropriate, they should report it to the competent authorities, be it the State Election Commission or the ODIHR observation mission, he added.

Mr. Yee also stated that the US also support the prosecution and all investigations regarding any case of corruption which has adequate evidence.

“Certainly, with regard to the case that you mentioned, we believe that there are grounds for investigation and prosecution. But this is the responsibility of the government and its judiciary system. We will continue to assist and encourage the government, this government and the next one, to investigate such cases. We can say that we have seen some progress in terms of creating institutions to combat corruption, for example, the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office. We believe this is a positive step. I met with Mr. Stankovic and Mr. Katnic on several occasions. My colleagues, and also other members of the international community, assure me that these prosecutors and their colleagues are doing a good job in processing as many cases as possible. They have opened up an impressive number of more than 900 cases, since last year. They had some impressive results in the prosecution of officials, including some who were associated with the parties of the ruling coalition”, said Mr. Hoyt Yee.

Source: Cafe Del Montenegro