Montenegrin foreign minister arrives in a visit to Zagreb.
Croatia supports Montenegro on its European and Euro-Atlantic path, and believes that it is in line with the geo-strategic and security interest ofs Europe, said on Wednesday Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Davor Ivo Stier after meeting with his Montenegrin counterpart Srđan Darmanović, reports HRT on March 15, 2017.
“Croatia and Montenegro maintain close relations in terms of promotion and support to Montenegro in its European and Euro-Atlantic path. Montenegro has received an invitation for NATO and the ratification process is at the end”, said Stier, who expressed his optimism about the imminent completion of the ratification process. Croatian Parliament ratified the Protocol on the Accession of Montenegro to NATO on 25 November 2016.
Darmanović said that he was grateful to Croatia for everything it had done and is still doing in “our patient struggle to achieve our membership in NATO and the European Union, because these are the two foundations of our foreign policy”. “Croatia has ratified the Protocol of Accession to NATO and it understands the needs of the region and that Montenegro’s membership is another link in the chain that is missing”, said Darmanović and expressed his confidence that Montenegro will become the 29th member of NATO at the Alliance’s summit in May. “We believe that this will contribute to stability in the region and will be useful in a certain way to other aspirants, our neighbours”, said the Minister.
Darmanović also commented on the security situation in the region which “must not be ignored”. He reminded that Montenegro had its own security challenges and had successfully addressed them, saying that “the region needs continued engagement of the EU and NATO”. He also recalled the words of Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović at a security conference in Munich, when she warned that “interference by third parties in the Western Balkans constitutes a threat to Euro-Atlantic integration”. “That would not be the most desirable scenario”, said Darmanović and added that “Montenegro knows where it is going”.
He pointed out that Croatia had been strongly supporting Podgorica on its path to the European Union, “from the very beginning”, and added that his country has so far opened 26 negotiating chapters and closed two of them. According to him, the two countries “represent a kind of leaders in European integrations”.
The two ministers said that the economic cooperation was good, especially in the construction sector, pointing out that the ambition is to strengthen cooperation in the field of energy. “Investments of Croatian businesspeople are present in Montenegro. We want to further boost trade, and in this context we have discussed the strengthening of relations between our businesses. As for infrastructure projects, there is support for the Adriatic-Ionian motorway and Adriatic-Ionian gas pipeline”, said Stier.
Regarding the outstanding issues between the two countries, Stier said that Croatia and Montenegro “have reinforced the atmosphere of good neighbourly relations and have approached issues with the intent to solve them”. “There is a strong willingness to solve the outstanding issues together, in concert and with no hasty steps”, said Darmanović and added that the Montenegrin side invited Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to visit Montenegro.