At the beginning of his visit to Washington, on the occasion of taking part in Prayer Breakfast, President of the Parliament of Montenegro Mr Ivan Brajović was one of the keynote speakers in the US Senate, at the round table: “Current Challenges Facing Southeastern Europe and Combating Malignant Behaviour of Russia in the Region” upon the invitation of Senator James Inhofe, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
On the panel that was attended, inter alia, by Senator Mike Rounds, congressmen Michael Turner, Robert Aderholt and Robert Pitinger, OSCE Chairman George Tsereteli, as well as South East European officials, President Brajovic highlighted the following:
“Montenegro is focused on regional cooperation and particularly proud of its good neighbourly policy. We have no open issues that can significantly burden relations with our neighbours. Despite numerous challenges we have become a NATO member. This was especially important for us in order to enhance our sovereignty and territorial integrity, while benefits of membership in economic sense have been already visible. Bearing in mind the achieved progress we rightly expect to be the first next member of the EU. It is in our interest that all countries of the Southeastern Europe become a part of NATO and the EU”.
Director of the Conflict Management Program at the Johns Hopkins School Mr Daniel Serwer hosted President Brajović who spoke at the round table: “The Future of the Western Balkans: Europe or long-term instability?” attended by eminent representatives of academia in Washington. The round table discussed current socio-political trends in the Western Balkans, and President Brajovic stressed the importance of Montenegro's membership in NATO from political and economic point of view and presented dynamics of the European integration process of Montenegro. The President of the Parliament also presented his views on the most important regional issues.
In separate conversations that he had with senators Ms Susan Collins, Mr Ben Cardin, Mr Ron Johnson, Mr Roger Wicher, Congressman Mr Eliot Engel and Vice President of the Center for Strategic and International Studies Ms Heather A. Conley, President Brajović especially emphasised the importance of continued US support to reform processes in Montenegro and its stronger economic presence. He emphasised the importance of a clear European perspective of the Western Balkans for the stability of Europe and presented the progress that Montenegro, as a front runner in the process of European integration, is pursuing on this path.
Longest-serving Senator Susan Collins, in her conversation with President Brajović, said that she was proud of the strategic partnership of her country Maine and Montenegro.
With the emphasis on the constructive role of our country in the Western Balkans, Senator Ben Cardin said that Montenegro was a friendly country and a reliable ally of the United States.
Senator Ron Johnson said that that Montenegro has progressed visibly since its independence, and that in his conversations, he often mentions, as an example, the way in which Montenegro solved the border demarcation issue with Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Senator Roger Wicher, who is also Co-Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, confirmed full support to Montenegro and said that he would continue to encourage a stronger presence of US investments in our country and the Western Balkans.
Congressman Eliot Engel, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, recalled that he had been monitoring developments in the Western Balkans for a long time. Noting that he personally encouraged Kosovo leaders to ratify the demarcation agreement with Montenegro, he welcomed its entry into force. In this situation, Montenegro confirmed once again, by its behaviour, the commitment to peace and cooperation in the region, Congressman Engel stressed.
USA - Mr Brajović at events and bilateral meetings
Speech of President Brajović