19:53 GMT21 February 2020
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    Leader of the opposition Democratic Front coalition said that NATO’s official invitation for Montenegro to join the alliance is not backed by the people of the country.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) NATO’s official invitation for Montenegro to join the alliance is not backed by the people of the country, most of whom are against the accession, according to social polls, a leader of the opposition Democratic Front coalition told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    “It cannot be said that the official invitation by NATO is favorably accepted by the people of Montenegro because if you judge by social polls or just talking with the people, the majority is against membership in this alliance,” Andrija Mandic, the leader of the New Serbian Democracy party, said, adding that “NATO just wants Montenegro to join so it can control the country.”

    Earlier on Wednesday, NATO alliance member states accepted Podgorica’s bid to join the alliance and invited the country to begin accession negotiations.

    Mandic said that the current political regime in Podgorica would like to avoid holding a referendum on the country’s joining the alliance because if a referendum were to be held, the majority of Montenegrins would vote it down.

    “As the opposition, we favor a referendum, but a just referendum so that the authorities don’t falsify the results as they did with the previous elections. I’m afraid that if the authorities try to bypass a referendum, the county will end up on the brink of a domestic conflict,” Mandic said.

    He added that Montenegro should remain neutral and not join an alliance that is against Russia.

    “”We would become a member of an attacking bloc that is first and foremost directed at Russia,” he added.


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