Marković: Montenegro can be leader in the Western Balkans

Duško Marković; Photo: CdM

PODGORICA – US Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Montenegro is not only the most important political event in our country, but it exceeds the frameworks of one country, Prime Minister Duško Marković said in an interview for Novi Magazin.

The visit is a clear confirmation of strong ties and the strategic partnership of Montenegro and the United States of America, which positions Montenegro in a new way on the international scene, the PM added.

“US VP’s visit and the Adriatic Charter Summit have been the most important political events in Montenegro since the independence restoration. The fact that the United States has decided to honour Montenegro with the arrival of such a high-ranking official only two months after it became full NATO member state is a clear confirmation of the strong ties and strategic partnership of our two countries. It is also the logical sequence of Montenegro’s civilising choice – belonging to the Western system of values. In addition, as I said at the Summit, Mike Pence’s visit to Montenegro has a wider significance, which goes beyond the borders of a country. This is proof of the solidity and sustainability of the trans-Atlantic connections, as well as the Euro-Atlantic perspectives of the Western Balkans,” Marković said.

Marković added that last week’s Adriatic Charter Summit, which was for the first time organised as a meeting of heads of states and governments, sent strong messages of unity over integration goals and gave a new momentum to regional cooperation in the field of security and beyond.

“US VP Mike Pence’s presence at the Summit is a signal that the new US administration is committed to the Euro-Atlantic perspective of the Western Balkans. At the same time, the summit promotes regional cooperation in achieving this goal. After this event, Montenegro positioned itself on the international map in a new way. As VP Pence assessed, Montenegro is the leading country in the region when it comes to preserving peace and security in the Western Balkans. The country also strongly promotes dialogue as the only way to resolve disputes,” Marković said.

Asked why Montenegro joined NATO, Marković said that in our history law and justice were often confronted with the pragmatism of politics and the logic of great powers’ interests.

“Montenegro must never forget what kind of terrible price it paid one century ago, when Montenegro was abolished as a state at the Peace Conference in Paris, although the right and the justice, as well as the sacrifice and the suffering, were on its side. It took almost a century to reach 21 May 2006 when the international community recognised Montenegro’s right to independence again,” he added.

PM added it took decades for the people to learn a historical lesson that independence cannot be restored without wisdom and patience.

“A generation appeared who understood that the independence of a small country and a tiny nation cannot be taken for granted. It understood that the long-term guarantee of independence is the country’s equal position in an association and at the table where the great and the powerful make decisions. We got that place as the 29th member of the most powerful alliance – NATO. Never again will anyone decide on the fate of our country behind our backs. From all this, it is clear that our membership in NATO is not directed against anyone. It is rather the result of our strategic assessment that in this way we will permanently ensure the independence of our country. That’s why I was motivated to assess that Montenegro’s accession to NATO was a historic event for my country,” the PM said.