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Montenegro's accession to NATO is not anti-Russian, PM Marković stresses in interview with CorD

Montenegro
Published date: 01.02.2017 01:36 | Author: PR Service

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Prime Minister Duško Marković's interview with CorD Magazine

Excellent political relations with Serbia and Aleksandar Vucić's Cabinet have to be valorised through the implementation of joint economic projects, not only in terms of infrastructure, Prime Minister of Montenegro Dusko Marković has said on the eve of his visit to Serbia in an interview with the CorD, a monthly English news magazine for unbiased, independent coverage of economics, politics and society in Serbia today.

"We will be strongly committed to this in future, because we really see room for concrete cooperation between the two countries, which will bring benefits to both the citizens of Montenegro and Serbia," says Prime Minister Marković for the magazine intended for economic, political, diplomatic and other leaders and top managers.

Speaking about the priorities in terms of economic cooperation between the two countries, Prime Minister Marković in particular refers to infrastructure connections and the possibility of exploiting joint hydro-energy potential.

He has said that the priorities are related to the strengthening of cooperation within the CEFTA free trade zone, as well as further development of tourism and transport.

"That cooperation has already been further encouraged through the Berlin Process and infrastructure connections within the region. In this context, the Trans-Balkans corridor is important as it will improve energy connections between Montenegro and Serbia, as part of a broader regional energy connection strategy," the Prime Minister of Montenegro explains.

He stresses the correctness of the decision to construct the undersea energy cable between Italy and Montenegro and the policy of the strong ties with the EU energy market and the immediate neighbourhood.

He recalls that, in order to modernise the rail infrastructure to the border with Serbia, as part of the Berlin Process, Montenegro was approved a 20-million euro grant by the Western Balkan Investment Fund in 2015, and was co-financed with another EUR 20 million. He also states that the construction of the first section of the Bar-Boljare motorway is underway, and that its completion is expected by May 2019.

The Prime Minister has reiterated the commitment to pursuing the strategic foreign policy priorities, namely membership of the EU and NATO, and noted that in that regard, Montenegro has made historical progress within a relatively short period of time.

"Our priority now is to ensure sustainable economic growth and higher living standards in the long term", notes the Prime Minister.

Responding to a question about the lack of representatives of the Serbian people in the Montenegrin Cabinet, the Prime Minister says that this is not the result of his attitude as the Prime Minister towards the Serbian people, but "the consequence of the attitude of the political representatives of the Serbian people themselves towards the current government."

He speaks about his offer to the opposition to join the government, poining out that this is the way to resolve the issue of political representation of the Serbian people in the executive branch.

"They should give up their boycott, return to the Parliament and then I will be ready for them to take certain positions in the government," says PM Marković.

He also speaks about the relations between Montenegro, Russia and China, and the impact of Euro-Atlantic orientation of the country.

"It is completely wrong to interpret cooperation with someone as automatically meaning action against others. Montenegro and its citizens have their own interests and the state leadership is working to implement those interests. Membership of the EU and NATO is not directed against Russia or anyone else, but corresponds to the needs of society for enduring peace and stability, a wish to essentially, and not only geographically, belong to the world's most developed countries and cherish the values of the Western civilisation," the Prime Minister explains.

In parallel, he continues, cooperation, primarily with Moscow and Beijing ,in particular economic cooperation is the result of Montenegro's efforts to develop the country, its infrastructure and make it accessible and attractive for new investment that will create new jobs.

"In the end, the goal is to secure stability, security and a European standard of living or citizens. As a small country, we are not in a position to waive cooperation with any important factor on the global stage. On the contrary, all we are trying to build bridges everywhere, to be a reliable and responsible partner," PM Marković underscores.

Commenting on the process of ratification of the Protocol on the Accession of Montenegro to NATO, the Prime Minister has stated that every ratification means a special recognition for the country and its efforts to implement fundamental reforms.

He reiterates that there is no dilemma that the US Congress will ratify Montenegro's Accession Protocol and that the United States is a key partner of Montenegro in the process of Euro-Atlantic integration, stressing that the Montenegro's commitment to join the Alliance is a strategic path to the future of the country.