Montenegro Woos EU by Matching Sanctions

09 Oct 15
Montenegro Woos EU by Matching Sanctions

As part of its pro-EU policy, Montenegro is matching European Union sanctions imposed against several mostly Middle Eastern countries.

Dusica Tomovic

Montenegro has expanded the list of countries against which it has an arms embargo, allying itself further with the EU, which it hope to join.

A government document, which BIRN has seen, shows that the list of countries against which the sanctions have been imposed to include Belarus, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Egypt, Somalia and Zimbabwe.

Most of the measures relate to arms embargos, travel bans, freezing of funds and economic resources, but also restrictions on admission of individuals suspected of serious crimes.

Sanctions against North Korea include a prohibition on trade in “certain luxury goods” while the embargo against Iran includes a ban on exports of certain technology that could contribute to further development of Iran’s nuclear program.

To comply with EU foreign and security policy, Montenegro has introduced an embargo on arms exports to Libya, to which for years it exported a significant amounts of weapons and military equipment.

The government said that it was joining the Western sanctions in accordance with the National Programme for Integration of Montenegro into the European Union.

The measures were also imposed to “uphold respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law”, it said.

“Allying with the EU joint position is one of the elements on which the European Commission assesses the fulfillment of the criteria for membership,” the document noted.

In spite of criticism, Montenegro in 2014 supported Western sanctions against Russia imposed as a punitive measure for the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Montenegro, with a population of just 600,000, has traditionally had strong ties with Russia and about 40 percent of real estate in the country is owned by Russian citizens.

In August, Montenegro also reimposed sanctions against Belarusd for human rights abuses, including an arms embargo, a travel ban on President Alexander Lukashenko and visa bans and asset freezes on around 200 people close to him.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)