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BOŠKOVIĆ AT 2BS FORUM: Despite open opposition from Russia, Montenegro has consistently achieved its priority foreign policy goal

BOŠKOVIĆ AT 2BS FORUM: Despite open opposition from Russia, Montenegro has consistently achieved its priority foreign policy goal
Published date: 12.05.2017 19:19 | Author: mod

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Defence Minister Predrag Bošković, participating in 2BS Forum panel in Budva on topic "Russia in Southeastern Europe - Re-establishment of the influence?", said that the answer to the question of whether that country is a threat to Montenegro is complexed, because it depends on what threats is talked about.


"When it comes to our foreign-policy priorities, such as membership in NATO, that country is a real threat, which is proved by the events during the October elections in Montenegro last year. This turned into a real and direct interference, which was followed by continuous threatening statements and fierce rhetoric from the highest state positions. "

The complexed implications of Russian influence in the region, especially in Montenegro and its NATO integration were discussed at the panel. Panel moderator, Timothy Judah, from the notable British journal "The Economist" noted that the relations of the countries in the region with Russia are very different, and they do not depend of the exact facts, making the example of Serbia, that has 120 military exercises with NATO and west countries per year, and a few with Russia, but the public support for NATO is least positive in the region.

Minister Bošković repeated that Montenegro's NATO integrations are not directed against any country, and that they represent the national interests. He stressed that he understands Russia’s increased anxiety, but Montenegro is ready to tolerate even stronger rhetoric.

“In the past Montenegro often did not know haw to protect their own interests, believing that traditional ties will ensure country duration. We believe that the conflict is behind us and that the economy should determine the growth of the entire Western Balkans. We decided to open the doors to all who will respect the laws of Montenegro. It worked out well until that there was an attempt to, through the economic interests, affect our national interests”, said Minister Bošković, referring to attempts of Russia, through the economy, primarily real estate investments, to provide a deeper political impact on our country.

Responding to a question on internal support to NATO and whether everything has been done to convince the citizens of Montenegro that NATO is the right decision, the Minister said that he understands those who at this moment do not see all the benefits of membership of Montenegro in NATO, bearing in mind still fresh memories of the bombing in 1999, but that there are those who simply cannot be reconciled with the Montenegrin independence.

Membership in to NATO destroys their hopes that Montenegro will again lose its independence one day. Of course, we knew our priorities, which are enshrined in the Declaration of independence, such as integration into to NATO and the EU, ", said Bošković and pointed out that one of these priorities will be accomplished in less than a month, on June 5.

"I'm sure the idea of NATO integration will increasingly encounter fertile ground in Montenegro and that our historical shift from East to West is one of the best decisions in terms of prosperity of the whole society," said Bošković.

He also said that NATO integrations are a guarantee for Montenegro that 1918 will not happen again, but its also a guarantee of peace and stability in the entire region. "NATO integrations put an end to the political project of great states in the Balkans. Therefore, I am convinced that the key to the future of the entire region is into Euro-Atlantic integration, "said Minister Bošković.

He stressed that, despite the fact that in life everything is possible, Montenegro's membership in to NATO is considered an irreversible process, and he believes that the Montenegrin opposition felt relieved when on 28 April was adopted a draft of the Law on the ratification of the Protocol. "I'm sure they know it is in their interest the presence of NATO.”

Bošković said that the process of Euro-Atlantic integration should not end with Montenegro, and that process is completed only with the inclusion of the other countries of the region. "Disunited region is a source of instability, from which consequences are suffering not only the neighboring countries. Membership into NATO of the entire region would mean long-term stability in a historically turbulent region."

Minister expressed his gratitude to "all those who in these 12 years have done everything to make us become better."

Marina Pendeš, Minister of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nadezhda Arbatova, the Center for European Studies, IMEMO, Russia, Janusz Bugajski, senior associate in the Center for European Policy Analysis- CEPA, USA, Paul Schwartz, research analyst- CNA and senior associate, Program "Russia and Eurasia", CIS, USA, also participated in the panel.