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Minister Darmanovic in interview for MINA: Citizens at the elections are choosing between modern secular or theocratic state

Published date: 23.08.2020 13:50 | Author: MVP

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Citizens at the parliamentary elections are choosing will Montenegro be a secular state of all its citizens, nations and religions or a theocratic state with domination of one people, one religion and one church, stressed Minister of Foreign Affairs Srdjan Darmanovic.

In his interview for MINA he said that for all those who want pro-Western, democratic and secular state, without doubts on her Euro-Atlantic orientation, decision on forthcoming elections should be very simple.

Darmanovic expressed importance of continuation of Montenegro’s foreign policy pathway after elections, based on Euro-Atlantism and European Integration.

Darmanovic said that “in our society and politics, however, there is no consensus on foreign policy. Differences are very sharp”.

According to him, discrepancies are not based on disagreements in details of foreign policy managing, but that they are of strategical character.

 “So, disputes on forthcoming elections on foreign policy courses are in fact differences concerning the state character. Montenegro will be a secular state of all its citizens, nations and religions or theocratic state with domination of one people, one faith and one church”, stressed Darmanovic.

He considers that the main opponents to present authorities, together with their spiritual source – Serbian Orthodox Church, are critical when it comes to country’s foreign policy orientation, before all NATO membership and regional policy.

 “From that perspective Montenegro is mainly seen as a satellite state within broader program which have been, on the beginning of 90’s, called “alliance of Serbian states”, and today we have many names, among which the newest one is “Serbian world”, said Darmanovic. 

He stressed that in these days we can hear announcements on forming a team for “protection of sanctities” on areas inhabited by Serbian people, directly from Cabinet of President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic.

 “This, even by the name taken from worship movement in Montenegro, clearly demonstrates the real facts”, Darmanovic said.

According to him, with that politics, side by side, logically, goes foreign policy patterns and main allies – mostly authoritarian regimes of anti-western course and opponents of international liberal system.

 “Because of all that, Montenegrin citizens once again hold the key of state character and its foreign policy path”, assessed Darmanovic.

Darmanovic emphasized that it is of great importance that Montenegro became NATO member 2017.

With this, as he stated, Montenegro has showed that permanent question of security is resolved and that institutionally it became a part of the Western world.

Darmanovic expressed that the court epilog of attempted coup on elections day 2016, showed interference of third parties in election process.

He said that this time authority has launched activity to empower legal institutional framework so we can be adequately prepared for elections this year.

He emphasized that special attention will be committed to opposing hybrid threats. 

 “We got very significant support from our allies and partners from NATO and EU, as well as through bilateral cooperation with some of NATO member states”, Darmanovic stated.

On that line, as he added, in recent conversations with high US officials, he got convincement that Montenegro can count on support of the United States of America in struggle with disinformation and hybrid attacks.

“In that regard, Montenegro is, in comparison to the period four years ago, more resistant and in many ways more prepared to answer on multiply challenges, including those related to the election process”, Darmanovic assesed.

He said that does not mean that they do not expect interfering in election process.

According to him, daily and orchestrated media campaign against Montenegro, caused by adopting of Law on Religious Freedom, is led from Serbia.

Darmanovic added that we recognize Moscow’s interest for previously mentioned question and there is no dilemma on which side is its preference.

He highlighted that Montenegro, as sovereign state and NATO member, has duty to oppose to hybrid threats and provide smooth holding of parliamentary elections and full respect of election results.

 “We believe that all election participants, especially bearing in mind that elections are to be held in heavy conditions without precedent, in time of pandemic COVID – 19, will show full responsibility for democratic process and thus contribute to the image of Montenegro as the first next EU country”, Darmanovic stated.

Darmanovic expressed expectations that Montenegro in new negotiation phase, which is the most demanding, will more dynamically step into the phase of temporarily closing the chapter.   

He highlighted that Montenegro, by opening Chapter 8, has successfully closed the first phase of negotiations and became first candidate country which opened all the negotiations chapter.

According to him, European institutions from beginning of the new mandate, although confronted with many challenges, showed that enlargement policy is important orientation of EU.

“This is clearly demonstrated through Croatian presidency. It is on us to continue to devotedly work on achieving standards, especially in areas related to rule of law and to committedly lead dialogue with European partners”, Darmanovic stated.

Darmanovic also stated that there is possibility that EU will change the list of countries which can enter in EU and allow Montenegrin citizens entrance, but that that depends from epidemiological situation and other factors.

He reminded that the Council of EU every two weeks revise the list of countries with abolished travel restrictions, citing that it is encouraging that we see indications of decrease of number of infected persons in recent days.

“We believe that Montenegro, when epidemiological image in country becomes better and when we will be in line with defined standards, we will again be on the list of countries which citizens can travel to EU”, Darmanovic concluded. 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs