Serbia ‘No Longer Matters to Montenegro’

05 November 2008 Podgorica – It’s up to Serbia to decide on what kind of relations it wants with Montenegro since Belgrade no longer matters to Podgorica, Montenegro’s Prime Minister says.

Milo Djukanovic said the ball was in Serbia’s court to decide on what kind of relations it wanted with its old ally.

He argued Belgrade “is responsible for souring relations between the two countries.”

“We are in no rush,” Djukanovic said, adding that Belgrade “is no longer an address that matters to Montenegro.”

He said that it was important, but not the most important, adding that Podgorica “will not beg” Belgrade to change its stance towards Montenegro.

“By expelling the Montenegrin ambassador Anka Vojvodic, Belgrade is responsible for souring relations between the two countries,” Djukanovic told Radio Montenegro.

The move came after Montenegro recognised Kosovo’s February 17 declaration of independence from Serbia.

The Montenegrin Prime Minister said his country had recognised Pristina’s move because “it can no longer shut its eyes to reality.”

Djukanovic said Montenegro “took no joy in the troubles of its neighbours,” 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, Montenegro’s ruling party vice-president said neither Montenegro nor Serbia should close the door on their European future because of the Kosovo dispute.

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