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US Calls For Calm Following Reports Of Violence In Montenegro

US Calls For Calm Following Reports Of Violence In Montenegro

The US Embassy in Montenegro called for calm following reports of violence during opposition celebrations after the Sunday elections.

US Ambassador Judy Rising Reinke urged all sides to engage in dialogue and avoid violence.

The statement came after reports of clashes between supporters of pro-Montenegrin and pro-Serb parties in some cities. In the northern town of Rozaje, supporters of pro-Serb parties attacked two ethnic Bosniaks. Bosniaks were also beaten in Pljevlja, and Albanians in Tuzi. In the capital Podgorica several people were injured, and police were prevented two rival groups from clashing.

Montenegrin President Milo Djucanovic, whose party won the elections but for the first time in three decades won’t be able to form a government, is also worried about the violence.

“We saw an outburst of intolerance, aggression and primitivism last night. Attempts to confront people who think differently,” he said on Monday, one day after the election.

Djukanovic added that in Montenegro and the region there are two opposing approaches toward the future: one that brings countries to the European Union, absorbing European and Euro-Atlantic value systems; and the other one that looks back at nationalisms from the 1990s, with political parties struggling to recreate conditions for these nationalisms to thrive.

The third largest opposition coalition “Black on White” called on opposition supporters to refrain from violence. 

“As never before, it is necessary to preserve peace, inter-ethnic and inter-religious harmony in Montenegro. Do not let the historic victory be jeopardized by our irresponsibility,” its leader Dritan Abazovic told supporters. 

Abazovic, whose party’s four deputies are crucial in the forming of a new government, agreed for a coalition with the leaders of the two major Serb opposition parties. The latter  parties campaigned on promises to withdraw Montenegro from NATO, and strengthen ties with Serbia and Russia.

However, the coalition principles signed after the election between the three opposition parties promise not to change international commitments of Montenegro.

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