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Entangling of Montenegro in NATO inadmissible, says Serbian politician

September 17, 2016, 1:52 UTC+3

"The fact that the authorities of Montenegro are pushing their country into NATO against people’s will is simply inadmissible," the leader of the Serbian Popular Party, Nenad Popovic, said

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BELGRADE, September 16. /TASS/. Entangling of Montenegro in the North-Atlantic pact is inadmissible, the leader of the Serbian Popular Party, Nenad Popovic, said on Friday in an interview with TASS.

In April 2016, the political force he chairs got seats in Skupstina (national parliament) in the coalition with the ruling Serbian Progressive Party led by Prime Minister Alexander Vucic.

"The fact that the authorities of Montenegro are pushing their country into NATO against people’s will is simply inadmissible," Popovic said. "Montenegro went through NATO bombings in 1999 and I’m confident more than 90 percent people there are against NATO membership, and that’s why the government in Podgorica is fearful of holding a referendum on the issue."

"Throughout its history, Montenegro has been Russia’s ally," he recalled. "And look, right now the Montenegrin authorities have introduced sanctions against Russia — in contradiction to the will of the people."

"Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Dukanovic is seeking to destroy the collective memory of the people in that country," Popovic said. "He wants the nation to forget NATO bombings, to forget that Russia has always been Montenegro’s closest friend."

"The pressure and the attempts to change popular consciousness have gone too far, and the authorities are trying not to turn the Montenegrin Church into an autocephalous one, along the same scenario that we could see in Ukraine," he said.

"I point out virtually every day the encroachments on the elementary rights of the Serbs in Montenegro," Popovic went on. "The right to free speech of Montenegrin citizens who consider themselves to be Serbs is encroached, and the Serbian Cyrillic script is squeezed out of use."

"Also, they’re undermining the institute of the Serbian Orthodox Church," he said.

"The regime ruling in Montenegro now is craving to change the identity of the Serbian people by force, and that’s why the Serbian authorities have a duty to defend more actively the rights of Montenegrins who don’t give up their Serb identity," Popovic said.

Serbian Popular Party was set up on September 21, 2014. In spite of its young age, it has managed to get into public focus and to gain influence in Serbian society.

The party describes itself as a right-off-center political force, the activities of which proceed from respect for national and democratic principles, as well as the principles of civic patriotism.

A separate chapter in its program is devoted to Russia. It says, "The Serbian Popular Party views Russia as the most important political and economic partner of Serbia and one of the biggest opportunities for its development. We believe no other friend has been closer to Serbia throughout its history than Russia. Nor did we ever have an ally, the ties with which would be more durable, richer, or more diversified than with Russia."

The party has a clear-cut position on relations with the EU. "A referendum on European integration: Yes to Europe, No to the EU."

"Our outlook of European integration is based on the principles of Euroscepticism," the program says. "As we are a popular party, we will be demanding that the government ask the people of Serbia if they want to continue moving down the pathway of accession to the EU."

"A referendum as the supreme manifestation of democratic procedures can give the best possible answer to this question," the document says.

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