Đukanović: Montenegro owes Croatia nothing

PODGORICA -- Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Đukanović says that his country is in no way indebted to Croatia.

Milo Đukanović (FoNet, archive)
Milo Đukanović (FoNet, archive)

Đukanović added that Montenegro should set out its arguments “in a superior manner“ over the final settlement for the Prevlaka peninsula.

“No-one owes anyone anything. Other than what we owe ourselves and the joint state we used to live in, some more, others less, for bringing that union down,“ the Montenegrin prime minister told Montenegrin state TV yesterday, after reaching an agreement with his Croatian counterpart Ivo Sanader to let the International Court of Justice in the Hague arbitrate in the Prevlaka dispute.

He said that he and Sanader had decided that a bilateral agreement would arouse suspicion in both countries, and that as Europeans, they had agreed to let the Hague court decide, subject to the approval of their respective parliaments.

Đukanović explained that it was now up to Montenegro to try to systematize arguments with the help of “domestic and international experts,“ and convince the international court that they were in the right.

“I can’t fathom those inferior views that any broaching of this theme automatically means defeat. In that case, we don’t even have the right to a temporary solution to Prevlaka’s status. However, I think we have arguments, and that we should set them out in a superior manner at a venue that has delivered just rulings, even in delicate situations, that states have respected. I think it will also be the case with Croatia and Montenegro,“ predicted the prime minister.

The Montenegrin opposition has strongly criticized the Đukanović-Sanader agreement, believing Montengro to be in Croatia’s “debt“ over the attacks on Dubrovnik in 1990.

On the subject of Kosovo, Đukanović said that there was no concern for potential security instability in the region, and denied that there was any possibility of a political crisis.

He said he understood emotions in Serbia over Kosovo, though he did not agree with Serbian officials as to the causes of the crisis.

The prime minister repeated that Montenegro had to follow its own interests, adding that the government would be led by national interests over the matter, and that it would coordinate its policy with that of the EU.