Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press service Statements
Friday, 03 January 2020. PDF Print E-mail
Statement by First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia
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"Serbian Ambassador to Montenegro Vladimir Bozovic was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro to be handed a Note of protest over an attempt to set a Montenegrin flag in Belgrade on fire. Taking into account the entire situation, and the fact that this was an attempt to come up with an alibi for the crisis in Montenegro, our Ambassador refused to receive the note of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro.

The Charge d' Affaires of the Embassy of Montenegro in Belgrade was summoned today to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia.

We absolutely dismiss all accusations made in the statements by top officials and through petitioning by those who had previously signed petitions against the Serbian people, falsely shifting the responsibility for the situation in Montenegro onto the official Belgrade and Serbia.

Once again, we express disapproval of the adoption of the Law on Freedom of Religion in Montenegro, as it is aimed against the rights and freedoms of the Serbian people and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro. We have a legitimate right and obligation to speak out in the interest of Serbs in Montenegro and their rights and freedoms, as they make up 29% of the population in Montenegro.

The Law on Freedom of Religion in Montenegro was adopted despite the disapproval expressed by the Serbian people and the Serbian Orthodox Church and it could become a source of threat to the Serb holy sites, i.e., the holy sites of Orthodox believers in Montenegro.

The Serbian leadership, as part of its endeavours to preserve peace and resolve all problems through dialogue, has since day one claimed the above, and we find it hard to comprehend the positions being presented and attacks against the official Belgrade. What has the official Belgrade done to cause the crisis in Montenegro? Was it us who adopted the law? Was it us who spoke about the rights of Montenegrins in Serbia! They keep saying that the independence of Montenegro has been put under threat, but by whom? And who has and when even implied that Montenegro should not be independent?

It is not in our interest to keep deteriorating the relations while fabricating topics that are not even relevant at the moment. We did not bring up the issue of Montenegro's independence, our interest is to have good relations with Montenegro and this is the interest of the Serbian people living in Montenegro, too. We are not in favour of the further deterioration of the situation, on the contrary – we advocate resolving such issues through dialogue.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia condemned in a statement the attempt to burn a Montenegrin flag. Such an act was a counterproductive one, and can only serve the interests of the enemies of Serbian people and of Serbia's reputation and credibility, given that our country seeks to have good relations with Montenegro and peacefully settle any existing differences and diverging views.

The Serbian President stated that the Ministry of the Interior, as also conveyed in its official statement, took all the necessary measures to secure the Embassy of Montenegro and that it was not facing a threat even for a moment. Various pyrotechnical devices were thrown at the flag of Montenegro which we condemn and call for something like that never to happen again.

President Aleksandar Vucic announced that he would like to spend the Christmas Eve with our people in Montenegro. Montenegro will be informed in advance about this visit that will be of religious character, and not an official or working visit. It will focus on paying a visit to Serbs living in Montenegro during Christmas holidays, with no negative connotations in terms of deterioration of the relations between the two countries. This is a visit in the interest of peace.

President Vucic spoke on several occasions with President of Montenegro Djukanovic to the effect of easing the situation.

False allegations that Serbia is threatening someone's independence need to stop. Get over it, it is not that someone arrived from Belgrade to cause a problem – it occurred in Podgorica as a result of the adoption of the Law on Freedom of Religion. We are not aggravating the situation, but trying to calm it down, instead. We are even facing criticism for not taking a firmer stand.

All the international factors have pointed to the need to resolve problems through dialogue – we do not want our relations to deteriorate.

After all, Montenegro is our closest neighbour and one should not fabricate conflicts just to achieve political gain. Peace in Montenegro is crucial in this context, but it needs to come as result of dialogue."