Russia has never accepted nor gotten over Montenegrin NATO membership and it will never do so, evaluated Savo Kentera, President of the Atlantic Council of Montenegro.
Appearing on the TV show Sofrovizija of the Radio and Television of Montenegro on the occasion of the third anniversary of Montenegro’s membership in the Alliance, Kentera said that Russia continues fighting tooth and nail to undermine our country.
We saw the attempts of Russian interference in 2016 and the interference became very intense in the last couple of months. Now, Serbia is being used for Russian goals and it is attempting to do something that is not suitable for a neighboring and friendly country. Both Moscow and Belgrade need to get over a fact that this behavior needs to stop since Montenegro chose its path which will strengthen democracy and rule of law, Kentera specified.
Speaking of the regional stability, Kentera stated that it would be ensured only when Serbia and Bosnia become part of the Alliance.
Serbia is a very important country for the region. In the previous period, Serbia had many military exercises with NATO members, but this is not discussed in the media since their officials want to create an image of closeness to Russia. When the government in Serbia changes, this situation could also change overnight and I hope that one day we will talk about Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina as member states, not so much because of NATO itself but because of the permanent security of our region.
According to Kentera, the benefits of Montenegrin membership to NATO are numerous, starting from the stronger internal security to the higher number of foreign direct investment.
Besides this, the fact that Montenegro is sitting at the same table with the countries which decided on its future in 1999 is crucial. We cannot end up in being in a conflict with these countries again, with someone else debating on us. We have a voice now and the equal right to participate in the decision-making process of NATO, Kentera said.
Strategic mistake, as he added, was to choose the Eastern European market as the main market for Montenegrin tourism.
We should have never chosen only one side. Look at Croatia, Spain and Italy. All of them are NATO member states. Compare their tourism with ours and that will tell you everything. They also have guests from Russia but not to the same extent as we do, Kentera concluded.