Response from Montenegro to Vučić: Regretfully...
Montenegrin Foreign Minister denies allegations that the ministry he heads banned Serbian citizens from voting in Serbia's April 3rd elections.Source: Tanjug
Minister Djordje Radulovic explains that no one has banned the holding of elections, but only the places that have been provided for that have been confirmed, emphasizing that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded positively to Serbia's request.
"On the occasion of the statement of the Democratic Front, which, in a way, indirectly accuses the Foreign Ministry and me personally of interfering in the election process in Serbia - simply put, the claim cannot be further from the truth. I want to clarify that in accordance with international law and conventions, voting is organized in the premises of embassies and consulates. This time as well, at the request of the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia, the MFA responded positively. However, the note in which they addressed our department did not explain why it is necessary to organize voting in other places, in addition to the established diplomatic practice", Radulovic said.
As he said, for the sake of explanations, providing additional locations for voting in addition to embassies and consulates, is used only when there is either a large number of voters, or it is a matter of territorially much larger countries.
This decision is not directed against anyone, because in the same way, in their embassies and consulates, citizens of other countries vote - Croatia, USA, Ukraine, Russia and many others, whose national law allows voting abroad. It is exclusively a matter of respecting international norms and practices. After all, Montenegro is not so big that, if the right to vote is used, one cannot get to the Serbian Embassy in Podgorica or the Consulate General in Herceg Novi very quickly? Populism and political mongering are exactly what Montenegro does not need, but peacefulness, composure and reconciliation", said Radulović. As he claims, behind every "why" there is no antagonism towards anyone, but a logical, understandable and easily explainable "that is why".
"Nobody has banned the elections, only the seats provided for that have been confirmed. On that line, if there are justified and practical reasons for opening additional polling stations, Serbian diplomatic representatives in our country would present it to the Ministry, which has not been done in the original address, we would certainly consider this request further.
"Regarding the statement of the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, I regret that at a time when war events are taking place in the east of our continent, he is even considering 'far-reaching consequences' in the region. Montenegro, as its smallest country, has a special sensibility for the stability and prosperity of the Western Balkans," Radulovic said.
He states that, when it comes to the announcement of the cabinet of Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić, even after 17 months, in this case, ignorance of the procedures was shown once again, since no session of the Government can be scheduled regarding such technical decisions.
"On the other hand, the session of the Government should be finally scheduled due to the decisions on which the European future of our country depends, regardless of the possible fear of some members of the Government that the decision to introduce restrictive measures would negatively affect their results in the elections in Berane," Radulović said.
Last night, Prime Minister Krivokapic's office said that the decision to reject the request of the Serbian Embassy to open polling stations in Berane, Sutomore and Budva, in anticipation of the upcoming elections scheduled for April 3 in Serbia, was made by the Ministry and Minister Djordje Radulovic, adding that this decision is not in agreement with the Prime Minister and most other ministers in the Montenegrin government.
Earlier, the Democratic Front called on the outgoing government of Zdravko Krivokapic not to reconsider, but to change the shameful decision to ban the opening of polling stations in Budva, Berane and Sutomore, so that all Serbian citizens in Montenegro could exercise their right to vote.
"Otherwise, this will be just another in a series of embarrassments for Zdravko Krivokapic and Dritan Abazovic, who became famous for their anti-Serbian decisions to such an extent that they would be envied by Milo Djukanovic and Dusko Markovic, even from the "best" period of their anti-Serbism", DF said.
The Podgorica based portal Borba.me also announced yesterday that Krivokapic's government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected the request of the Serbian Embassy to open polling stations in Berane, Sutomore and Budva, where Serbian citizens residing in Montenegro could vote in the upcoming presidential, parliamentary and local elections, scheduled for April 3.