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Mayors’ Statement About ‘Serbian Motherland’ Angers Montenegro Opposition

Balkan Insight

The Montenegrin opposition on Tuesday called for the dismissal of mayors and local officials in six towns after the media published their speeches at a Serbian diaspora meeting in Belgrade in December.

Mayors of Niksic, Mojkovac and Berane and local assembly speakers from Danilovgrad, Herceg Novi and Tivat attended the meeting of the Serbian parliament’s Committee for the Diaspora and Serbs in the region on December 13.

All the local officials are members of New Serbian Democracy, which is part of the ruling Democratic Front coalition in Montenegro.

During the meeting, the mayors alleged that the former government of Montenegro discriminated against Serbs in Montenegro and called Serbia their true motherland. Representatives of Serbian organizations from Montenegro were also present at the meeting in Belgrade.

“We have to respect what Serbia has told us, that we can rely on Serbia as the motherland of all Serbs… When we cooperate with our motherland, we are all better off,” Kovacevic said. “We expect official Belgrade to continue to help Serbs in Montenegro,” he added.

Opposition parties in Montenegro called on the ruling civic movement URA and Democratic Montenegro to dismiss the mayors.

“They should withhold support from Democratic Front mayors and local assembly speakers. Those local officials’ claims are a shame for Montenegro,” Ivan Vujovic from the opposition Social Democratic Party said.

However, ruling Democratic Montenegro MP Dragan Krapovic said on Wednesday that his party supports improving relations with neighbor Serbia. Ruling civic movement URA said they welcome any move that means better relations with neighboring countries.

The mayor of Niksic, Marko Kovacevic, accused the opposition of waging an anti-Serbian campaign.

“We want to cooperate with Serbia and we want all of us to live better together in Montenegro without endangering anyone. We attended the session of the Committee for the Diaspora about the position of Serbs in Montenegro. Maybe we should have discussed thiongs with the Chinese in Beijing,” Kovacevic said.

According to the last population census in 2011, of Montenegro’s 625,000 people, roughly 45 per cent identified as Montenegrin while 30 per cent identified as Serbian.

Source : Balkan Insight