Montenegrin PM Djukanovic in Belgrade after 10 years

Montenegrin PM Djukanovic in Belgrade after 10 years


By Miloš Mitrović – Belgrade

Milo Djukanovic, Prime Minister of Montenegro will arrive in Belgrade on Monday evening, in his first official visit to Serbia after a decade. Years after the split of Serbia and Montenegro in 2006, when the majority of Montenegrin citizens voted at referendum for an independent state, political relations between Belgrade and Podgorica have been almost frozen. However, Serbian power change in 2012 signaled new period.

Former Serbian President Boris Tadic (2004 – 2012) has been perceived by Djukanovic and his closest allies as a politician tending to change the reality of Montenegrin independence; the image of the former PM Vojislav Kostunica (2004 – 2008) has been even worse; it is still believed Kostunica is the enemy of Montenegro as a sovereign state. On the other hand, Belgrade has been accusing Djukanovic for trample on Serb minority rights and persecution of Serbian Orthodox Church clergy as well.

However, as early as the 2012 electoral campaign Tadic`s successor, current President Tomislav Nikolic and the key members of the subsequent government have met Djukanovic and his associates in Podgorica. After Nikolic has been inaugurated and the new government formed, Montenegrin Parliament speaker Ranko Krivokapic and Deputy PM Igor Luksic have visited Belgrade. In January, Serbian President met his Montenegrin counterpart Filip Vujanovic in Podgorica. Serbian PM Ivica Dacic met Djukanovic in Podgorica in September. Today, Djukanovic arrives in return visit.

On Tuesday, Milo Djukanovic will meet President Nikolic as well as PM Ivica Dacic and Parliament President Nebojsa Stefanovic. The main issue during the visit will be “the progress (of the two states) towards mutual European and economic future”, Belgrade daily Danas has learned. The focus of the talks will be on European integrations in economy, tourism, energy sector and infrastructure.

Last week, Serbian Deputy PM Aleksandar Vucic revealed that Djukanovic has recommended Serbia as attractive a country for investments to United Arab Emirates. In October Abu Dhabi’s Etihad airline invested $40 million in Serbia’s indebted JAT Airways. A $400 million sovereign loan for agriculture has been agreed with the UAE’s Development Fund, as well as another $400 million deal with the Al Dahra food producer, which wants to lease bankrupt socialist-era farms.

On the eve of his visit to Belgrade, Djukanovic has stressed in his article for Serbian NIN weekly that the relations between Serbs and Montenegrin people were characterized by “brotherhood”. According to Djukanovic, the relations were “especially fraternal” in periods when they have been founded on mutual interests.