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Montenegrin opposition urges to lift sanctions against Russia

June 03, 16:37 updated at: June 03, 21:02 UTC+3 BELGRADE

Democratic Front has adopted a decision that alliance’s deputies in local parliaments will come forward with an initiative to approve a declaration on lifting sanctions, the statement said

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BELGRADE, June 3. /TASS/. Montenegro’s opposition political alliance Democratic Front has urged to lift sanctions against Russia, says a statement adopted at a meeting of the party’s presidium on Saturday.

"The Democratic Front presidium has adopted a decision that the political alliance’s deputies in local parliaments will come forward with an initiative to approve a declaration on lifting sanctions against Russia, which was initiated by the Montenegrin-Russian society Slavic Bridge" the party’s statement said.

"Montenegrin authorities had decided to impose sanctions on Russia against the interests of an overwhelming majority of citizens and this step inflicted a huge damage on the Balkan state," it reads. "Following instructions of their patrons and mired in personal interests of some representatives of the system, the Montenegrin puppet regime had taken a decision that affected most local legislatures in Montenegro, in particular ahead of high season."

"For years, Russia - Russian investments and tourists - have been a backbone of Montenegro, but instead of cooperation, the Montenegrin regime additionally exacerbates relations with that great country and henceforth plunges our local legislatures into crisis."

The Democratic Front believes that voting against sanctions would be "an exam for political forces."

"Those who refuse to support the anti-sanctions declaration should explain to their voters why they are causing them this damage which, due to the anti-Russian sanctions, is expanding and looming large.

Earlier, Montenegrin-Russia society The Slavic Bridge had sent an initiative for lifting the Montenegrin sanctions to all the parliamentary parties in the country for consideration.

Milan Knezevic, a leader of the country's opposition and the chairman of the Popular Democratic Party of Montenegro told TASS then that all the political parties, and the pro-Western Democratic Popular Socialist Part of Montenegro with former Prime Minister Milo Djucanovic at the helm had received the Slavic Bridge's initiative to pass a declaration in local legislatures to lift the sanctions against Russia.

This would make possible the inflow of Russian investment and Russian tourists in the country and would bring about the normalization of Russian-Montenegrin relations, he said.

Somewhat earlier, a number of regional legislatures in Italy, Germany, Austria, France, and Hungary had passed similar legal initiatives, Knezevic said.

In May 2014, Montenegro followed suit the EU countries in imposing sanctions on Russia and then prolonged them on several occasions. In 2015, Russia blacklisted some Montenegrin politicians in retaliation notifying the country’s foreign ministry. The incumbent Prime Minister, Dusko Markovic, the former Prime Minister and leader of the Democratic Party of Socialists, Milo Djucanovic, Montenegrin parliament speaker Ivan Brajovic, and a number of other Montenegrin politicians are on the list among others. Nevertheless, it was a surprise for the Montenegrin elite when parliament member Miodrag Vukovic, a leader of the ruling party, was not allowed to enter Russia.

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