09 September 2019 - President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović met with Matthew Palmer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and the newly appointed Western Balkans Representative for the United States State Department, who is on an official visit to Montenegro, on September 9th.
During the meeting, President Đukanović congratulated Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Palmer on his appointment to this responsible mission, which represents a confirmation of the continued US presence in the region. He emphasized the importance of being such a good connoisseur of the Balkans. “You can count on the absolute partnership of Montenegro and mine personally so that we can all do what is best for the region”, Đukanović said on this occasion.
The President also stressed that both sides share initial assessments of the problems in the region: insufficient peace and stability and a lack of clear vision of the prosperity of the region. “The path to overcoming the aforementioned problems is integration, and the Western Balkans does not have a desirable perspective without integration, which is why we strongly advocate enlargement policy”, Đukanović said. The President reminded that by its example, Montenegro shows that such a policy is delivering results, which is reflected by the country's membership in NATO and what makes this country the aspirant who has moved the farthest in the EU accession process.
“In addition to a clear vision, we also have a growing capacity to adopt reforms and overcome challenges, seeking to affirm regional cooperation as a good path to integration. It is very important for Europe to recognize its responsibility and strategic interest in integrating the Balkans”, the President said, noting that everyone in the region, together with partners like the US, should encourage Europe to begin a more active policy towards the WB as soon as possible.
According to the official statement by the PR office of The President, Đukanović took the opportunity to once again thank Washington for its support to Montenegro, especially in the area of defence and security, and said that the priorities for the coming period were to strengthen the cybercrime and hybrid threats defence network. The President expressed interest in enhancing economic relations and attracting more US investment in Montenegro.
Palmer also expressed his satisfaction with the meeting, pointing out that it is no coincidence that Montenegro is the first destination he visited at the beginning of his term as our country is a leader and an example for others in the region. He briefed the President on the priorities of his mission: encouraging the opening of EU accession negotiations for Skopje and Tirana, returning to the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and seeking solutions for the functionality of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Palmer emphasized that he sees Montenegro as a partner in these processes, especially given the good relations it has with the countries of the region.
President Đukanović agreed on the choice of priorities, saying that the interests of Montenegro are identical and added that the forces in the region that are aspiring to Europe should be more strongly supported in order to encourage the WB to further integration.