JAKOV MILATOVIĆ, President of Montenegro, reaffirmed his country’s strong commitment to the goals and principles of the United Nations. While today’s challenges require wise leadership, world leaders are often content to share common concerns rather than unite their efforts. Thus, a complete return to the binding provisions of the United Nations Charter is necessary, he said. According to him, his recent election “marks an unprecedented level of support for a new era of democratic development (of Montenegro”). Citizens demand the strengthening of the rule of law, the development of prosperity as well as the guarantee of social cohesion and equal opportunities, he said. This is essential to safeguard the country’s young democracy at a time when such systems of governance are in decline globally. He proclaimed zero tolerance for corruption and organized crime, as building independent institutions is essential to unlocking economic potential and improving living standards.
He explained that his country’s foreign policy is based on three pillars: accelerating integration into the European Union, strengthening Montenegro’s credibility as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and strengthening relations with all neighboring Balkan countries. He said that Podgorica’s early accession to the European Union would be the best signal that European integration is still alive. He then highlighted the start of a meaningful dialogue with civil society and vulnerable communities in his country, aspiring to create an environment of equal opportunities. He expressed hope that this will also inspire the world to uphold democracy, human rights, freedom of choice, rule of law as well as ensure peace, prosperity and preservation of human lives . In this regard, condemning the unprovoked and unjustified aggression of the Russian Federation, he reaffirmed that his country stands with Ukraine.
Addressing humanitarian crises, he highlighted that the international community often replaces preventative responses with reactionary measures – the migration crisis in the Mediterranean region is just one example. This challenge, among others, stands in the way of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. To accelerate progress, strong political commitment, more financial resources and enhanced cooperation are needed, he stressed, also calling for action to combat climate change by unconditionally implementing the Paris Agreement. He noted that in 1991, Montenegro adopted a declaration that made it the world’s first ecological state. Proud to transpose the 2030 Agenda into the national framework of the country through a corresponding strategy, he informed that, to accelerate its implementation, Podgorica has also created a special fund. In addition, he announced the implementation of tax, labor market and social security reforms that helped reduce inequality.
“As a member of the Human Rights Council during the period 2022-2024, we are determined to further strengthen the role of this crucial international forum,” he stressed, reiterating the attachment of his country to the respect, protection and promotion of human rights. With this in mind, Montenegro promotes a harmonious and inclusive domestic political environment. He expressed hope that the Roma population will also soon be represented in Parliament. Calling on other countries to share responsibility in handling the refugee and migrant situation, he highlighted that Podgorica had hosted 100,000 refugees and displaced people during the wars in the former Yugoslavia. Montenegro has also opened its doors to Ukrainians fleeing the conflict and welcomes the largest number per capita in Europe. Advocating for the role and work of UN peacekeeping missions, he expressed support for increasing the presence of Montenegrin military forces in these missions.