US Special Envoy for the Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar said on Friday the current situation in the Balkans has many similarities with the 1990s when ethnic tensions were rising, and many wanted to take advantage of them.
„From Dayton onwards, many positive things have happened. And when you analyse them, you will see that they were all the fruit of Euro-Atlantic integration. That is why we mention to our European partners the need to accelerate integration, and that is why the Balkans are always high on our agenda when we talk to them, „Escobar told the 2BS Forum in Budva, Montenegro.
He said that although informally, at the last NATO summit, fears were expressed that it was dangerous to share all information with the new government in Podgorica.
Escobar added the concern was genuine and that people in Montenegro should be aware that NATO had many ways to keep the information. Still, every government should be mindful that it was something that weakens both.
He said the „prosperous forces in Montenegro“ should understand that it should be a sovereign, democratic, western-oriented member of NATO.
However, Escobar warned, the US „has the answer in the form of sanctions, political pressure, and the isolation of forces that have such efforts within Montenegro itself.
Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic said his country’s stability could only be strengthened through the European integration process. Still, the problem is when you receive scant messages from partners seriously blurring the European perspective, giving wings to the dormant 1995 nationalism that never gave up.
„Today, we are witnessing a hybrid war against the West and Europe, and Montenegro has been warning of that for a couple of years. The Western Balkans is a suitable terrain because Russia counts on pro-Russian sentiments here,“ Djukanovic said.