Daily newspaper Vijesti, March 13, 2005
newspaper Vijesti, March 13, 2005 Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Montenegro Miodrag Vlahović said yesterday that the statement of Javier Solana in which Serbia and Montenegro is still considered as the most appropriate framework for the approach of Montenegro and Serbia towards the European family, was neither new nor surprising to him and to Prime Minister Milo Đukanović during their visit to Brussels. It would be highly surprising that something else was declared in a moment when both the EU and the USA have been demonstrating clear intentions to address the problem of status of Kosovo, i.e. when additional efforts are being undertaken to bring back the key country of Western Balkans to the path of full cooperation with the international community. There is still a lot of work to be done - said Vlahović in the interview for Vijesti. How do you comment observations that the visit of Montenegrin delegation to Brussels was a failure?I consider them as unserious and groundless. Talks in Brussels, both in the EU and in NATO headquarters, where we had particularly successful meeting with the Secretary General Jap de Hop Shefer, were open, friendly and very useful for us. As we are approaching the finalization of Montenegrin efforts to fully re-establish its statehood, such observations dont come as a surprise.What do you think on criticism that you should not have offered a proposal for transformation of Serbia and Montenegro into union of states to Serbia, without prior verifying the reaction of Brussels?Our proposal to remain together with Serbia, and to be independent, which appears to me as the most authentic translation of this initiative from political into the language of practice and everyday life, was actually submitted first to those that we wish to remain in special relations with to Serbia and its competent people. We believe that only this is fair and logical. We have, of course, verified (this) and we have the intention to further consult our friends and partners in Brussels, European capitals and Washington regarding this model. Many consider this as an interesting solution. The first reactions of official Belgrade were mostly negative ones. Koštunica would loose significant part of his political program as well as the reasons for the existence of his own party, if he expressed affinity towards this initiative. It would make pointless the existence of some parties in Montenegro but it is the fate of these parties which can not be helped. The acceptance of such concept would be of utmost importance for Montenegro itself because it is a meeting point of two, only apparently, irreconcilable conflicted political strivings. Those who respect Montenegrin statehood can not lose within the model of union of independent states. The losers, in each scenario, would be those whose strivings go towards Montenegro not being a state.Why has this proposal been submitted exactly at this moment, even though you knew in advance that Belgrade would not accept it?Because it is a serious proposal related to a serious issue. It is not something that you receive in the evening and you either read or not read it, and then in the morning you declare that the matter is absolutely unacceptable. There is one year left before the referendum. If its not on time now, when it will be then? It is a strategic and in a long-term, even historically, important proposal that brings us back to the idea that the link with Serbia - that is not nor has ever been a problem which is needed, useful and based on interest, etc. Rather the problem was and, unfortunately, still is the nature of this link. This is the essence that is more difficult to blur with every day that passes. We did not demand or expected that Serbia accepts it promptly. There is time for that. There are Serbs who are in favor of this. Which are the concrete results of Montenegrin diplomacy since you became the head of Ministry?In cooperation with the young team, that I have the pleasure to work with, we have intensified diplomatic activities. We have been represented independently and as such we have been recognized and acknowledged at the regular session of the United Nations General Assembly and at the OSCE Ministerial Council in Sofia.We have had success and we have the intention to strengthen our efforts in this direction, in promoting foreign policy of Montenegro as legitimate, undisputable and indispensable fact concerning communication with our country. We have confirmed our fundamental determination that good relations and cooperation with neighbors are the basis of our foreign policy and we have achieved to be in direct communication with foreign diplomacies of relevant countries.Our visits to the countries of the Region have been, in addition, very important as well as the fact that we have approached new EU member states. We have removed many inherited ambiguities as well as indolence and misapprehension that many possessed. We have, also, tried to support the other ministries within our Government in promoting investments in Montenegro. Some of the tangible results in this field are yet to come. We have tried to invigorate and improve the work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs itself. I am particularly satisfied with the second year of the work of our Diplomatic Academy "Gavro Vuković" as well as with cooperation with the Law Faculty. Diplomatic Academy is being gradually transformed into a serious institution that will give its contribution to the re-establishment of Montenegrin diplomacy. Do you have coordinated actions with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia and Montenegro?We have intensive coordination with Montenegrin representatives within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia and Montenegro. This is important to us, we are entitled to that and we will continue this practice.How do you evaluate the work of the ambassadors from Montenegro and do you give them instructions?Their work is very good. We are in constant contact with them and they perform their duties on a fair basis in a delicate situation. As soon as, in the near future, this state union becomes history, no one would be able to state that any of these ambassadors acted unfair in respect of Serbia and its interests. For some of their colleagues from the other member state this may not be the case.How satisfied are you with the work of Montenegrin diplomatic missions?I am, of course, satisfied. I hope that, in the near future, we would re-establish our Missions in Brussels and Berlin. BRUSSELS IS NOT INTERESTED IN DIRECT ELECTIONS An important issue for Montenegro in this moment has been confirmed in Brussels 2005 should be dedicated to firm and tangible steps towards European and Euro Atlantic integrations. Furthermore, the issue of direct elections for the Parliament of Serbia and Montenegro is no longer on the agenda.Our side has reiterated that democratic referendum on state and legal status of Montenegro is our unaltered and definitive determination and that we are prepared to fully commit to further strengthening of institutional i.e. administrative capacities of our state administration in order to make it operational to face the duties and obligations that are ahead of us, in the process of stabilization and association with the European Union. In this context, in particular, it was emphasized that Montenegro is highly interested in using all the possibilities that the twin-track approach is offering - which we have again supported as something that was proposed by Montenegro from the very beginning said Vlahović.