Montenegro quits amid “spy” claims

Montenegro quits amid “spy” claims

Zdravlja Kotor Bay, Montenegro. Source: Wikimedia

Serbia says it has arrested several people with foreign links accused of spying on Montenegro’s veteran Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic prime minister, who is to step down.

The governing Democratic Socialist party said he would be replaced by his deputy, Duško Markovic.

Djukanovic suggested on Tuesday that Russia was involved in an alleged coup attempt during the October 16 general election and said the opposition was collaborating with Moscow.

It is currently unclear whether there was a connection between Dukanovic’s claims of a coup and his sudden departure. Meanwhile, Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said those detained had handed information about Djukanovic’s movements to others who were poised “to act on it”.

Djukanovic is eyeing EU and Nato membership. He was re-elected on October 16 as the tiny nation’s authorities arrested 20 Serb paramilitaries.

His socialist party won the election but failed to gain a parliamentary majority meaning Markovic will have to negotiate with coalition partners before taking the position.

Đukanović has governed as Montenegro’s prime minister or president for 21 years since 1991.

“There is irrefutable evidence that some people, and that’s not those who were arrested, monitored the movement of the Montenegrin prime minister on a daily basis, every second, telling other people who were supposed to act on it,” Vucic announced. “Money has been found as well, about €125,000, uniforms and other things.”

Vucic, according to Serbia’s B92 news, said those arrested “have nothing to do with the Serbian state”. He warned that not all the suspects had been detained.

But some of the suspected spies were still at large, he said. “The good news is that in all this we found no involvement of any politician from Serbia or from Montenegro,” the Serbian premier added.

Since separation from Serbia in 2006 Montenegro, with a population of 630,000, has established closer ties with Brussels and Nato, although membership of the defence pact is a contentious issue in the ex-Yugoslav republic.

Many Montenegrins remain angry that Nato bombed Serbia and Montenegro in 1999 in an attempt to halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, which was then under Belgrade’s control.

The opposition accuses Djukanovic of corruption, which he rejects, while they deny his accusations that they get Russian funding.

There has been an influx of Russian money, homebuyers and tourists into the idyllic coastal state since independence.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.