05 November 2008 PodgoricaÂ – Itâ€™s up to Serbia to decide on what kind of relations it wants with Montenegro since Belgrade no longer matters to Podgorica, Montenegroâ€™s Prime Minister says.
Milo Djukanovic said the ball was in Serbiaâ€™s court to decide on what kind of relations it wanted with its old ally.
He argued Belgrade â€œis responsible for souring relations between the two countries.â€
â€œWe are in no rush,â€ Djukanovic said, adding that Belgrade â€œis no longer an address that matters to Montenegro.â€
He said that it was important, but not the most important, adding that Podgorica â€œwill not begâ€ Belgrade to change its stance towards Montenegro.
â€œBy expelling the Montenegrin ambassador Anka Vojvodic, Belgrade is responsible for souring relations between the two countries,â€ Djukanovic told Radio Montenegro.
The move came after Montenegro recognised Kosovoâ€™s February 17 declaration of independence from Serbia.
The Montenegrin Prime Minister said his country had recognised Pristinaâ€™s move because â€œit can no longer shut its eyes to reality.â€
Djukanovic said Montenegro â€œtook no joy in the troubles of its neighbours,â€ but could not be expected to ignore its own national and state interests.
Montenegro has traditionally been a close ally of Serbia, and the two were in a loose union until 2006 when Montenegro voted in a referendum to become independent.
A large proportion of Montenegro citizens, about a third of the population, declare themselves as Serbs, while ethnic Albanians also make up a sizeable minority in the coastal republic.
Earlier, Svetozar Marovic, Montenegroâ€™s ruling party vice-president said neither Montenegro nor Serbia should close the door on their European future because of the Kosovo dispute.