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Montenegrins Calling for NATO Referendum Count on Support From Europe - NGO

© SputnikAnti-NATO graffiti in Montenegro
Anti-NATO graffiti in Montenegro - Sputnik International
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A prominent peace activist said Montenegrins counted on the support from democratic European forces in their pursuit of a NATO membership referendum.

BELGRADE (Sputnik), Victoria Mladenovich – The opponents of Montenegro’s accession to NATO who are calling for a referendum on the issue expect to get the support from all the democratic European and Balkan countries, Marko Milacic, the executive director of the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro NGO, told Sputnik.

"Even 68% of Montenegrin population that support NATO want to vote at a referendum about this question and NATO supporters are minority in our country… We don’t deserve to have a monopoly over [NATO bid] from no one, especially not from people like [former Montenegrin Prime Minister] Milo Djukanovic and [current Montenegrin Prime Minister] Dusko Markovic. Considering the sensitivity of this question… we expect full support of every true democratic force in the Balkans and EU," Milacic said.

Currently, NATO members are implementing necessary procedures to include Montenegro in the ranks of the military alliance.

"If the Western countries send clear message to Djukanovic that he no longer has any monopoly on the NATO issue, and that it should be a matter of free will, wishes and care about the future of Montenegrin citizens, it would be enough. If this kind of message doesn’t get to Montenegro, and if the authorities try to avoid the referendum, people in Montenegro will make their way in self initiative to take this decision out of the hands of the dictator," Milacic warned.

On Monday, Milacic and his colleagues started a 12-day-long tour dubbed "Refairandum Caravan" during which they are scheduled to visit the cities of Kosovska Mitrovica, Skopje, Belgrade, Banjaluka, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Vienna, Prague, Berlin and Brussels and hold numerous conferences.

Montenegro's Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic (R) shakes hands with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after a joint press conference in Podgorica - Sputnik International
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Montenegro was invited to join NATO on December 2, 2015, in the alliance's first expansion into Eastern Europe in six years. Podgorica accepted the invitation the following day, which triggered protests in the Balkan nation. In late January, the country’s prime minister said Montenegro expected to become a full-fledged member of NATO before the next summit of the military alliance, anticipated reportedly in May or June.

On February 6, Milan Knezevic, one of Montenegro’s Democratic Front (DF) coalition leaders, said the majority of the Montenegrin citizens were against the country’s accession to NATO, and a referendum on the issue would protect their interests.

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