‘Common interest’: Montenegro phone calls for Biden’s backing on EU enlargement

Montenegrin Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic speaks throughout a push convention after talks with his Serbian counterpart Ana Brnabic at the Serbia Palace in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, June 29, 2022. Abazovic is on a two-working day official take a look at to Serbia. (AP Picture/Darko Vojinovic) Darko Vojinovic/AP

‘Common interest’: Montenegro calls for Biden’s backing on EU enlargement

Katherine Doyle

September 20, 06:35 AM September 20, 06:35 AM

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Primary Minister Dritan Abazovic of Montenegro called for President Joe Biden to assistance speed his country’s entry into the European Union, arguing that a larger sized European bloc could greater counter Russia.

Abazovic stated higher American assistance in the country’s combat against arranged crime and corruption, such as specific sanctions, would lower the temperature amid divided western Balkan states and orient their passions towards the United States and Europe.

Regional leaders foment ethnic divides to shroud their corrupt dealings, he argued, letting Russia to choose edge.

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During an job interview with the Washington Examiner, Abazovic accused Milo Dukanovic, the president of Montenegro, of shielding felony networks inside the region just after his possess governing administration manufactured a report selection of arrests.

“President Dukanovic is the head of this,” Abazovic mentioned, accusing him of drumming up religious and ethnic divisions that led to the collapse of his authorities in August.

For Abazovic, integrating his state into the EU right after far more than a 10 years as a applicant member is a singular mission and a person he believes aligns with U.S. goals.

“We have this typical curiosity,” Abazovic stated in an job interview. “But we need to have to get the job done jointly in guarding democratic values. We need NATO and U.S. assistance to fight the adverse Russian impact in the location, including in Montenegro.”

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Combating Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to be a precedence for the Biden administration, even as Russian President Vladimir Putin faces new issues in the war.

Abazovic was in Washington to satisfy with Point out Division officers right before touring to New York for the U.N. General Assembly.

A NATO member because 2017, Montenegro not too long ago endured a crippling cyberattack that leveled its electronic infrastructure and forced the authorities offline.

Officials have blamed Russia for the assault, with its National Security Company stating that the place was caught up in a “hybrid war.”

The outgoing prime minister also warned of China’s affect by predatory infrastructure lending. Montenegro is battling to repay the loan on its first motorway, a $1.2 billion Chinese-built freeway that goes nowhere. Abazovic, although serving as deputy key minister last calendar year, appealed to the EU to arrive to Montenegro’s assist.

China has the suitable to seize land inside Montenegro if the region fails to repay China’s state-owned Export-Import Financial institution on time, according to a duplicate of the financial loan agreement viewed by NPR.

Abazovic blames his predecessors in governing administration for agreeing to China’s deal. Montenegro had struggled to locate a lender amid issues that the country would not be ready to repay the price tag.

“China and Russia, they have diverse strategies, but they are [working to] influence our country,” Abazovic instructed the Washington Examiner.

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