Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Montenegrin Assembly to pass declaration on independence

Excerpt from report by Montenegrin Mina news agency

Podgorica, 23 May: The Montenegrin Assembly, based on the results of the referendum on its status as a state, will pass a declaration on [Montenegro's] independence which will raise the need to have Montenegro internationally recognized.

This is envisaged by the Action Plan which sets out all the priorities for Montenegro to function as an independent state and which was adopted by the government on 14 April.

This document outlines activities which would need to be implemented in three phases - the period leading to the [independence] referendum, the period from declaring independence to mid-July and the period from 15 July to 1 November.

The document sets out that between 22 May and 22 July the Foreign Ministry should issue a letter declaring Montenegro's independence and seeking international recognition. [Passage omitted]

This will then be followed by sending letters to all the EU member states and the UN about the declaration of Montenegro's independence and lobbying for international recognition [of Montenegro] in the shortest time possible. "The most suitable way to do this is to have our officials in a non-diplomatic capacity in the most important centres of decision-making, namely in Brussels and Washington," says the Action Plan.

Personnel from [Serbia-Montenegro] diplomatic and consular missions will also be recalled.

Decisions will be made on temporary recognition of concluded bilateral treaties dealing with driving licences, the agreement on readmission and for the current situation and border crossings with neighbouring countries to remain unchanged.

The document further states that decisions need to be made in connection with the way in which travel documents are to be issued for citizens residing abroad, and for status and rights to be temporarily retained for refugees and internally displaced persons from Kosovo.

The last phase, from 15 July to 1 November, envisages drafting of a bill on travel documents which will create conditions for such documents to be issued by Montenegro.

"We need to kick-start a process of negotiations and agreements with neighbouring countries to establish, identify and delineate borders, come to an agreement on border crossings and set up a procedure for resolving border incidents and such like. Regarding cooperation with the Foreign Ministry, the emphasis needs to be placed on the temporary protocol on border delineation at Prevlaka [peninsula shared with Croatia], as the only disputed border with Montenegro."

The Action Plan also sets out sending of diplomatic notes about the opening of diplomatic and consular missions and the adoption of by-laws which will provide for the diplomatic needs of an independent state in terms of its personnel and institutions.

The last phase envisages the appointment of representatives to the main Montenegrin diplomatic and consular missions. "This involves the implementation of the first phase of this process which will include earmarking the necessary budgetary funds," says the [Montenegrin] government's document.

The cost projection for [Montenegro's] membership in international organisations is also planned in this last phase along with activities which will need to be taken to open diplomatic and consular missions, and vital agreements and memorandums will need to be concluded with other countries.

The Defence Ministry will draft a bill on defence and the army and a number of other strategic documents and doctrines, defence strategies, army doctrines and regulations about service. According to an announcement, Mico Orlandic, deputy premier, will be in charge of these tasks.

Source: Mina news agency, Podgorica, in Serbian 0954 gmt 23 May 06

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