Montenegro: Mixed Emotions on Kosovo

February 17, 2008   | Politika

Bardhi117 February 2008 Podgorica _ While Montenegro’s Albanians were celebrating Kosovo’s independence, parties representing the country’s Serbs were calling for protests against the establishment of the newly-independent state.During the Kosovo Parliament’s sitting, convened to proclaim independence, residents of Tuzi and Ulcinj, areas with sizable Albanian populations, gathered in cafés and at the offices of ethnic Albanian parties, to start the celebrations.
Two Albanian parties in Montenegro, the Democratic Alliance, DS, and the Albanian Alternative, AA, opened their offices for all who wanted to celebrate, after advising their community not to hold festivities in the streets.
Mehmet Bardhi, the President of the DS, told Balkan Insight “this is a big day for the whole of the Balkans and Europe”.
“We want to celebrate, but not to provoke anyone. That is why we opened our offices for the festivities”, Bardhi said.
Nik Djeljosaj of the AA, said the people in Tuzi started the celebrations spontaneously.
“We want to celebrate in the spirit of tolerance. We do not want to organize the celebration as emotions are running high,” Djeljosay said.
By contrast, Montenegro’s pro-Serbia opposition condemned Kosovo’s independence declaration.
Representatives of the Serb List, SL, the Socialist People’s Party, SNP, the Democratic Serbian Party, DSS, and the People’s Party, NS, went to Mitrovica in Kosovo, the main centre of the new state’s Serb minority, to “act together to support Serbia in its bid to ‘preserve’ Kosovo”.
“Each breach of international law could create a precedent, and Kosovo could produce a ‘domino effect’ that would spread through the whole region”, Srdjan Milic, the president of the SNP, told Balkan Insight on Sunday.
The president of the DSS, Ranko Kadic, said “Montenegro should never recognize Kosovo independence”.
“If our government confirms [Kosovo’s] independence, the DSS is ready to call citizens to take part in democratic protests. Kosovo is the heart of Serbia, but also of Montenegro”, Kadic said.
The Montenegrin opposition coalition, SL, is planning a protest in the capital, Podgorica, because of the declaration of Kosovo’s independence, Andrija Mandic, its leader announced.
“Our protest will be a part of a regional action in which all Serbs and other orthodox people who consider Serbia as a friendly state, will send a message to the world that supporting the establishment of a second Albanian state on Serbian territory is considered as backing the break-up of Serbia”, Mandic stated.
The Association of Serbs Displaced from Kosovo also called on all refugees from the newly independent state to protest in Podgorica against independence.