22:20 GMT06 August 2020
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    Montenegro should build up cooperation with Russia and adhere to military neutrality in its foreign policy, Montenegrin politician Andrija Mandic said.

    On December 2, Montenegro received an official invitation from NATO to join the alliance. While the government praised the initiative many in the country have strongly opposed it. A surge of anti-NATO protests has been held across the country since then.

    "The invitation from NATO to Montenegro was a big mistake," Andrija Mandic, leader of the New Serb Democracy party, said in an interview with News Front.

    "The alliance knows that over 60 percent of the people in Montenegro are against the country joining the military bloc. Unfortunately, we have a government of puppets controlled by the West," he added.

    According to the politician, the current situation is dangerous for Montenegro because the decision to join NATO will be passed by the parliament, without taking into account the will of the people.

    "Our party stands for a referendum in following all the necessary legal procedures. This is the only way to resolve the crisis," Mandic pointed out.

    There are some people in Montenegro who support joining NATO and they are outnumbered, Mandic said. At the same time, there are those who want the country to form a military alliance with Russia, the politician said.

    "However, the majority support Montenegro being neutral. But we are an Orthodox people, and Russia protected us from the Ottoman Empire for 300 years. So, first of all, we want our neutrality to be guaranteed and supported by Russia," he explained.

    The politician stressed that Montenegro should try to build friendly relations with Russia. The Montenegrin economy relies heavily on Russian tourists and investments from Russia. The government should keep this in mind and look to strengthen ties with Moscow, Mandic said.

    "Currently, the policy of our government is controlled by the West. Our authorities have repeatedly committed mistakes and made anti-Russian and anti-Serbian statements. But Russia has always been friendly in response," the politician said. "I believe that after the first legal snap elections the situation would change and Montenegro will not go with Albania and Turkey against Russia and Serbia."

    Related:

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    NATO Membership May Bring Montenegro to Brink of Civil War – German Media
    NATO, Europe Will Lose From Montenegro's Accession – Envoy
    Montenegro's Accession to NATO to Destabilize Regional Security - Envoy
    Tags:
    NATO, protests, Russia, Montenegro
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