Monday, January 25, 2010

Clinton: Remarks With Montenegrin Prime Minister

WASHINGTON - During his three-day visit, Montenegrin PM Milo Djukanovic will meet U.S. Vice-President Joseph Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

It is believed that one of the main themes to discuss will be Montenegro’s bid to join NATO, and U.S. support in that matter. However, medias pointed out that vast majority of Montenegrin citizens is against the government plans to join the NATO, so it remains unclear on whose behalf is Montenegrin delegation leading the talks in Washington D.C.

Montenegrin Ambassador in Washington Miodrag Vlahovic said ”The program of the visit is very intensive and all our interlocutors are interested in meeting Montenegrin delegation and supporting our effort towards Euro-Atlantic institutions.” Besides the prime minister, the delegation consists of Foreign Minister Milan Rocen and Minister of Finance Igor Luksic.

Montenegrin delegation will also meet with heads of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Robert Zoellick. Prime Minister Djukanovic will visit Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, and give a lecture entitled “Montenegro’s path to Euro-Atlantic structures” at Johns Hopkins University.

PM Djukanovic seeks blessing for his successor after he ruled the country for 20 years?

German Radio Deutsche Welle reported that “according to Podgorica’s estimates the visit will determine the future political scene in Montenegro”. During his trip stateside, “Djukanovic is to receive approval for his successor at the position of prime minister”.

The radio emphasized that Djukanovic has been preparing for this visit for a long time through his lobbyists, and that he succeeded in being received at a high level. The report goes on to say that “before his trip to Washington, Djukanovic fulfilled the condition set out by the U.S. administration to establishment diplomatic relations with Kosovo”.

(From Serbian B92 English news service)
High official of the Montenegrin opposition party Movement for Changes Koca Pavlovic stated for Deutsche Welle that the six-time Montenegrin prime minister understood the message sent by the West: he must withdraw so that Montenegro would move on, as was the case with Ivo Sanader in Croatia.

“Aware that he must back down, Djukanovic is trying to arrange a departure by the model he used in the fall of 2006 and that is why he took a projected successor Igor Luksic with him,” Pavlovic said, but “expressed doubt that Washington would agree to another farcical exit of Djukanovic like three years ago”.

Continuous accusations of Montenegrin Prime Minister’s ties with mafia: Djukanovic statements wanted in 4 murder probes

Montenegro’s Supreme Prosecution has submitted a request to the Podgorica Higher Court to question Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic and Serbian controversial businessman Stanko Subotic aka Cane, who is already on the Interpol wanted list.

Montenegrin PM Djukanovic stated many times that Mr Subotic is his friend, and that he has nothing to hide in that matter. He also denied all the links with mafia and criminal charges that are coming from many sides in the last few years.

Montenegrin daily newspaper “Dan” wrote that the pair, previously mentioned in connection to cigarette smuggling probes, should give their statements in investigations of four murders. Chief State Prosecutor Ranka Carapic has filed the request based on the statement of Montenegrin businessman and former Chief of Montenegrin Trade Mission in Washington - Ratko Knezevic, about the involvement of the Montenegrin prime minister and Mr Subotic in a total of nine murders.

The final decision will be made by Supreme Court of Montenegro, but many analysts consider this whole process a political theatre, since Montenegrin judiciary system is considered to be under complete control of Mr Djukanovic and his ruling Democratic Party of Socialists. They are in power of this small Adriatic country for last 20 years, after previously transforming themselves from the Communist Party and changing the political system into a facade democracy.


Thursday, 21 January 2010, 1:25 pm
Speech: US State Department

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Treaty Room

Washington, DC

January 20, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s a great pleasure to welcome the prime minister. We consider our partnership with Montenegro to be very strong, and we look forward to it becoming even more important in the future.

Prime Minister Djukanovic and I discussed a range of issues. We particularly focused on the Western Balkans and the role that Montenegro is playing to ensure stability. I congratulated the prime minister on Montenegro achieving MAP status with NATO, and pledged the United States’ support for Montenegro becoming an integral part of the Euro-Atlantic community.

I offered the support of the United States as Montenegro makes some of the reforms in the rule of law area that both NATO and the European Union are looking to see. And I thanked the Prime Minister for his country’s commitment to sending infantry troops to be part of the international force in Afghanistan.

And finally, I was delighted to receive an invitation to visit Montenegro sometime in the future, which I would very much hope to be able to fulfill.

PRIME MINISTER DJUKANOVIC (via interpreter) Ladies and gentlemen, before I begin, I would like to thank Secretary of State Clinton for the overall support that the U.S. has given Montenegro towards its European and Atlantic integration.

I would like to recall that during a difficult period in the Balkans in the 1990s, that we managed to build a strong mutual trust. That cooperation has helped us understand the values of the American society and has helped us restore Montenegrin independence in a situation and in conditions of full stability and to move today steadily towards European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

I wish to thank Secretary Clinton in support – for the support to Montenegro in pursuing our goal, which is membership action plan at NATO. And at the same time, I would like to say that we stand ready to work hard to fulfill all the obligations in the next stages of our integration. And I would like to announce with confidence that Montenegro will be the next state to become a new member of NATO. Our two challenges for the future are improving, enhancing the rule of law, and we stand committed to doing this in order to improve the quality of life of our citizens and achieve our European and Euro-Atlantic goals at – as early, as soon as possible.

And I would like to reiterate on this occasion too that Montenegro is and will remain a responsible and reliable partner to the U.S. and EU in dealing with the still outstanding issues in the Balkans. And we will also work closely with our partners in other places beyond our region, starting with Afghanistan.

And finally, I would like to say how grateful I am to Secretary Clinton for accepting our invitation, and I will be looking forward to her visiting Montenegro at a period convenient to her.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. Thank you all very much.

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