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news 13 Mar 14

Montenegro Opposition Demand NATO Referendum

The head of the opposition Democratic Front says a decision to join NATO will only be acceptable if it follows a referendum.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica

Miodrag Lekic, leader of the Democratic Front, on Wednesday said the opposition bloc will seek a referendum on joining NATO if the government pushes ahead with membership without seeking people's consent.

"The outcome of a referendum will be acceptable to all members of the Democratic Front," the opposition leader assured.

Most parties in the Democratic Front firmly oppose membership of NATO with the exception of the Movement for Changes, PZP.

Lekic said the government's bid to push the country into membership of NATO risked "turnning one Montenegro against other".

According to Lekic, the issue of Euro-Atlantic integration is a secondary issue compared to the collapse of the economy, the wider political and institutional crisis and the problem of corruption.

Montenegro is currently conducting its fourth annual plan within the Membership Action Plan, MAP, which is regarded as a final step before joining the alliance.

Public support for NATO membership remains relatively low and NATO officials have urged the government to try to increase levels of support.

The government has said it intends to engage in "increased political activity to win greater public support for NATO membership".

Meanwhile, the government also expects the country to receive an invitation to join NATO at the alliance's summit in Wales, in the UK, in September.

The opposition insists that Montenegro will not receive an invitation to join the Western alliance because of its failure to reform the security services.

NATO has not yet specified whether the issue of enlargement will be on the agenda of the summit in Wales.

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