13 May 15
Montenegro Urged to Restore Conscript Army
The head of the pro-Serbian NOVA party said growing concerns about security issues in the Balkans suggested that Montenegro needed to bring back compulsory military service.
On the back of perceived terrorist threats to the region, the head of NOVA, the main pro-Serbian party in Montenegro’s parliament, on Tuesday called for the country to restore compulsory military service.
Andrija Mandic expressed concern that the recent violence in Macedonia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina could spread to the entire region.
He claimed that Montenegro would likely have similar problems because its eastern border was exposed to the threat of the “same terrorist groups as in Macedonia.
“What is happening in Macedonia was not a coincidence. For years we have witnessed the announced merger into one state of all the territories inhabited by ethnic Albanians,” local media reported him as saying.
Last weekend, police and armed gunmen fought battles in the streets of the northern Macedonian town of Kumanovo that left eight police dead. The terrorists were all believed to be ethnic Albanians although their exact motives remain unclear.
Montenegro abolished compulsory military service in August 2006, months after the referendum on independence and the split from Serbia. Since then, it has run a small professional army of around 2,000 troops.
Training and equipping the units is implemented in accordance with NATO standards as part of Montenegro’s commitment is to join the Western alliance and be part of its collective security system.
Pro-Serbian parties oppose joining NATO, however, and Mandic said he believed in the reintroduction of compulsory military service because Montenegro is “obliged to take care of itself.
“We should not have so much confidence in foreigners to take care of our security, we should do it by ourselves and strengthen our armed forces,” he added.
Other countries in the region also abolished compulsory military service in recent years. Serbia did so in 2011.
Both Croatia and Serbia are considering restoring conscript armies, however. In April, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic said she backed the reintroduction of compulsory military service, although only for eight weeks.
In February, EU member Lithuania reintroduced mandatory military service, reflecting growing security worries in the Baltic states about the threat from Russia.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)