Friday, March 07, 2008

Podgorica Warned Over Kosova Recognition

07 March 2008 Belgrade -- Zoran Lutovac, the newly appointed Ambassador of Serbia to Montenegro, warned the tiny Adriatic republic to honour Serbia's stance and not recognise Kosovo's independence, Radio B92 reported Friday.

Lutovac, Serbia's first ambassador to Montenegro in 92 years, told a press conference in Podgorica that Belgrade is watching "with special attention" what Montenegro will do regarding the recognition of the newest Balkan state, which unilaterally seceded from Belgrade on 17 February.

Serbia would, Lutovac said, undertake the same measures against Montenegro that it has taken against other countries that have already recognised Kosovo, i.e. recall ambassadors from those countries, vowing it will never recognise Kosovo as an independent state.

Lutovac submitted his credential to Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic on Thursday, thus marking the official establishing of diplomatic relations between Belgrade and Podgorica, 20 months after Montenegro declared independence from the then state union of Serbia & Montenegro.

The two republics were the last remaining members of the former Yugoslavia, following the country's violent breakup in the 1990s.

Montenegro named Anka Vojvodic its ambassador to Serbia in 2006. Lutovac said on Thursday that Serbia was committed to further improving friendly relations with Montenegro – relations which had already been "at a high level."

Up to 33% of Montenegro's 650,000-strong population consider themselves Serbs. The country is also home to a number of displaced persons from Kosovo.

Source -- B92 / Fena / Balkan Insight

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