Belgrade: Opposition leader went to Montenegro to incite conflicts; EU worries

Source: Tanjug/Miloš Milivojević

Tensions, passions, and mutual accusations between Belgrade and Podgorica don't fade out on Monday, a day after the church ceremony, with Serbia's Parliament Speaker accusing the country's opposition leader of inciting conflicts in the tiny Adriatic republic.

Ivica Dacic said Nenad Canak, the head of Serbia’s northern province of Vojvodina League of Social-democrats of going to Cetinje, the former royal capital of Montenegro, for the church ceremony „with an intent to provoke conflicts and violence against the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC).

According to Dacic, the leader of Serbia’s Socialists, Canak was paid by Montenegro’s President Milo Djukanovic.

European Commission (EC) spokesperson Ana Pisonero Hernandez said on Monday that concerns were growing about developments in Montenegro.

„The developments in Montenegro are increasingly concerning. Freedom of assembly is a fundamental EU right. At the same time, it should be exercised without prejudice to public health  and in full respect of the rule of law,  public order and safety of all citizens of Montenegro.

Any use of force must be measured and proportionate at all times.  We call for restraint and  expect all competent authorities to duly investigate and ensure an effective judicial follow-up to all instances of violence both against demonstrators and law enforcement officials,“ she said.

„He (Canak) did not go there as a supporter, but to incite violence against the SPC. What does he support? The ban to Bishop and Patriarch to come to Cetinje’s monastery? Like Milo, Canak can only survive on incidents. Canak is a shame for the Serb people,“ Dacic told the Belgrade Prva TV.

Dacic added he did not ask Serbia’s authorities to arrest Canak, but their Montenegro’s colleagues because of „violating the country’s Constitutional order.“

On Sunday, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic accused Montenegro’s former government, led by Djukanovic’s party, which lost elections after three decades in power, of wanting to separate the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral from the SPC and proclaim it the Orthodox Church in Montenegro, so that in time „Serbs assimilate and disappear.“


At the same time, Djukanovic described the enthronement of Joanikije as a landing on Cetinje, following footage of SPC Patriarch Porfirije and Joankije arriving in Cetinje by helicopter, escorted by special police and covered with bullet proved blankets.

Montenegro seceded from Serbia in 2006, but some people and politicians in both countries deny the existence of the Montenegrin nation, claiming they all are the Serbs, provoking bitter reactions of those declaring themselves as Montenegrins.

Though a majority of both nations belong to Orthodox Christianity, the Montenegrin Church is not autocephalous and is under the SPC formal jurisdiction.