Today in Cetinje, President Stevo Pendarovski, within his official visit to Montenegro, met with the President of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, and, afterwards, the two presidents held a joint press conference.
The integral text of the statement of President Pendarovski is below.
Distinguished President, Respected Friend,
Respected media representatives,
Let me first thank the host for the hospitality. Although we planned this visit a long time ago, due to the pandemic we meet later, regardless of the time, the pleasure is always great when you are among friends.
This is my first official visit to Montenegro as President of North Macedonia, by which I would like to reaffirm the excellent bilateral relations, and the same strategic visions that our two countries share.
Today, we repeated what we concluded at the meetings in Skopje, in October 2019, during the visit of President Djukanovic: our relations are excellent, and our task is to maintain this high level, for our peoples to continue with the close ties in the future, too.
In that context, we discussed several issues in the field of bilateral relations, and together we concluded that the improvement of economic ties should be our top priority. The pandemic has undoubtedly burdened our economies, and the war in Ukraine has shown that despite the fact that hostilities take place thousands of kilometers away from our region, the interdependence of world energy markets and basic commodities has a drastic effect on our economies. I am glad that we share similar views with President Djukanovic on the need for closer cooperation, in order to more easily overcome these common challenges.
We discussed, of course, the current situation in the region and agreed that in light of the war in Ukraine, they are gaining momentum. Today, when we witness the horrific crimes caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we believe that this should mean a turning point in the relations between the European Union and our region. European integration is a process that enables deep transformation and reform in the direction of democratization of societies and it is no coincidence that the European Union is a strategic goal of both North Macedonia and Montenegro. We especially appreciate the principled position of Montenegro for the imposed obstacles on our European path, recognizing the risk for all of us from introducing bilateral issues in the European agenda.
Our membership negotiations are a test of the credibility of the European Union. Strategic decisions are needed immediately, otherwise the visible declining trends of civic support for the integrations will become stronger.
In the talks, we also referred to our cooperation within NATO. The Russian invasion of Ukraine very clearly confirmed the benefits of our membership in the Alliance. The horror we see in Ukraine, we thought was impossible on European soil after the terrible wars of the last century. Unfortunately, we are witnessing the suffering of millions of citizens, a huge humanitarian and refugee crisis is unfolding before our eyes.
We need solidarity and even greater cooperation to deal with the consequences of Russian military action in Ukraine. As part of NATO, we stand behind all its decisions, and as a candidate country for membership in the European Union, we are one hundred percent in line with the common European foreign and security policy. In that sense, we have joined all European Union sanctions packages against Russia.
In the end, let me once again thank President Djukanovic for his hospitality, and call on us to continue to develop our mutual relations, because the stronger we are as a region, the greater the chances of security and prosperity for all our citizens.
In today’s global world, no one can survive without allies and friends.