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Stanišić: Serbian Orthodox Church must respect the State of Montenegro

Text: Vanja Tolj, FENA Photo/Almir Razić

SARAJEVO, March 15 (FENA) - "Current challenges for Montenegro's democratic development and stability in the region" was the topic of today's regular session of the Association of Independent Intellectuals "Circle 99", with Ambassador of the Republic of Montenegro to BiH Obrad Mišo Stanišić as the keynote speaker.

The keynote speaker addressed Montenegro's accession into NATO, the adoption of the law on freedom of religion or belief and the legal position of religious communities in that country, as well as "religious" gatherings under the baton of church leaders of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro.

"Montenegro made its biggest leap forward when it became the 29th member of NATO. It is certain that our country will be the first next full member of the EU. Of the 33 negotiation chapters, we have opened 32 and will soon open the chapter on competitiveness," said the Montenegrin Ambassador.

He points out that we have all witnessed the so-called religious gatherings orchestrated by church leaders of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, behind whom, in fact, as he claims, stand political nationalist structures inside and outside Montenegro.

"Once again, nationalistic ideas, which have only been placed on the down low, about old big-state projects that were unthinkable without Montenegro, have once again been activated. Behind all of this is the Serbian Orthodox Church, which has been operating in Montenegro since 1920, when the Decree was adopted which abolished the Montenegrin Autocephalous Orthodox Church. I do not know that anywhere else in the world there is a religious community in a country that denies the very existence of the state itself, its nation, its language and its church and its existence," said Stanišić.

He stresses that such behavior by the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro will not be accepted, because the policies in the region, Europe and the world are not like those in the 1990s, and Montenegro is a stable country, a member of the NATO which is oriented towards Western, democratic values

"Everyone will have to abide by the law on religion and religious freedoms. The Serbian Orthodox Church will have to comply with the Constitution and the laws of Montenegro. Everyone can express themselves freely in terms of their religious feelings, but they have to respect the state," the ambassador underlined.