Montenegro’s Foreign Minister To Quit Post

Milan Rocen has confirmed that he is bowing out, following the country’s recent achievements in advancing its EU and NATO membership prospects.One day after he announcing his intended withdrawal to the daily newspaper, Pobjeda, Rocen officially confirmed his decision on Monday at the opening of the fifth diplomatic “Gavro Vukovic” summer school in Berane.“It is the right moment to leave after all foreign policy gains Montenegro has achieved,” Rocen told Pobjeda on Sunday.

In terms of gains, the minister especially emphasised the opening of membership talks with the EU and the country’s advance towards full membership of NATO.

Rocen didn’t specify who might succeed him as Foreign Minister, a post he has held since 2006.

A journalism graduate at the University of Belgrade, Rocen started his political career in 1979 in the information and propaganda sector of the Presidency of the Central Committee of Montenegro’s then ruling League of Communists.

In 1988, he became deputy foreign minister, and since then his professional activities mainly focused on foreign policy.

Before the restoration of Montenegro’s independence, between 2003 and 2006, he was the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro’s ambassador to Russia.

In January, the daily neswspaper Vijesti included him in its 2011 list of Montenegro’s ten most influential personalities.

“By his closeness to [the country’s longtime ruler Milo] Djukanovic, Rocen affects many levers of power, especially parts of the police and intelligence structures,” the newspaper explained, while ranking him in eighth position.

Last Friday, Montenegro opened accession negotiations with the EU, the most important foreign policy event since the Adriatic republic regained independence in 2006.

At the last week’s meeting between NATO and Montenegrin representatives, the country was also encouraged to further head towards full NATO membership and its progress in meeting the measures from the Membership Action Plan was noted.

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