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MOSCOW, February 1. /TASS/. The speaker of the Russian State Duma lower house of parliament said on Monday Montenegro’s possible NATO membership should be decided in a referendum, pointing to a deep split in the society over the issue.
"Today it is evident, of course, that a bid of the leadership of Montenegro and part of the society to join the North Atlantic Alliance has seriously split Montenegro’s society," Sergey Naryshkin said at a meeting with a delegation of the Democratic Bloc uniting opposition parties of that Balkans country.
"Of course, the choice of the path is an internal affair of the Montenegrin people, but we of course pay attention to the fact that this deeply splits the society," the speaker said.
"I am confident that the people of Montenegro should make their choice through the most democratic instrument that has been invented by the humankind — a referendum," Naryshkin said.
He said he intended to discuss this with the delegation, whose representatives, as he noted, were in favor of a referendum.
Naryshkin said Russian people could not understand or were surprised by Montenegro’s bid to join NATO given the tragic events of 1999 when the republic came under NATO air strikes. "People who now live in Montenegro saw with their own eyes NATO attack aircraft, missiles, bombs killing residents of Montenegro, sparing neither children nor women," the speaker noted.
"From the point of view of international law, it is absolutely fair to state that the North Atlantic Alliance committed war crimes on the territory of today’s Montenegro, and they remained unpunished," he added.
He said it could be clearly seen at the moment that Montenegrin leadership’s bid to join NATO caused a deep split in the society of that Balkans country.