Đukanović: I don’t see any reason for coming into conflict with the Serbian Orthodox Church

President of Montenegro, Mr Milo Đukanović, said in an interview with BN TV that he didn’t see any reasons for coming into conflict with the Serbian Orthodox Church. He thinks they will manage to maintain positive atmosphere between the state and religious communities.

“We didn’t start this whole thing with the law with the intention of provoking conflict, but in order to adopt a new law, as part of the legal system of Montenegro, which is supposed to substitute the law adopted in 1977. Such process inevitably entails dealing with the property issue”, said Mr Đukanović.

He says that issue has been a problem for the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro.

“We have consulted European experts in  the area of law and they agreed that we should keep moving the way we started and that it was going to be in compliance with the European legal standards. I really believe that, after the tensions that sparked off at the beginning, we can now arrange this area properly, with better understanding, while maintain the good atmosphere between the state and religious communities”, said Mr Đukanović.

Journalists asked Mr Đukanović whether the agreement between Tirana and Priština on their joint action regarding their foreign policy meant “creation of the great Albania”. President says that once the European perspective is alienated, such ideas emerge.

“And when you let such ideas blossom, anybody who think that he/she will be in absolute control of the situation is wrong”, pointed out the President.

Even some people from the 90s, who had greater capacity than those who are here today, weren’t able to keep the situation under control.

“That brings us to the basic message: If we are smart to stick to the strategic course of European integration and if we manage to animate the EU to stay open for the integration of WB states, then we will have far better chances”, said Mr Đukanović.

“I am in contact with Vučić”

Asked if he kept contact with the president of Serbia, Mr Aleksandar Vučić, or with president of Kosovo, Mr Hashim Thaçi, Mr Đukanović said he was in contact with Mr Vučić “more often”.

He points out that their conversations are friendly.

“The conversations between two state-responsible men. There are some differing opinions, but it’s acceptable since we are both trying to do our job in the interest of the state we represent.  While being constantly aware that such interests can’t be absolute and that they have to be compatible with our common regional interest- stability”, said Mr Đukanović.

He said that the interest of the region was Europe, competitive with other great powers.

“We are witnesses to the global political and security pre-composition and we should be interested in Europe’s competitiveness”, said Mr Đukanović.

He said that a lot of time had been wasted as far as WB states are concerned. Other global players have expressed their interest in this region.

“WB has to be a civilization, cultural and economic part of Europe. The EU has to be the locomotive which is going to pull that forward”, said President.

He points out that WB states have perspective in European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

“Relations with Serbia aren’t as good as they used to be”

“Our relations definitely aren’t as they used to be. However, there are official and unofficial meetings, there’s a communication”, said Mr Đukanović.

He admits that relations between Serbia and Montenegro changed.

The reason for that are wrong, regressive theses that jeopardize vital values of all nations that live in the ex Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

What theses does the President mean exactly? He says that specific states in the region want to define the rights of their compatriots in other states.

“The same reasons led to the war in the 1990s”, said the President of Montenegro.

As far as the recognition of Kosovo is concerned, Mr Đukanović says that the decision was rendered by the sovereign Montenegro on the basis of its own assessment of regional interests.


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