Save Sinjajevina Meets With the Montenegrin Ministry of “Defense” in Podgorica

city of Podgorica, Montenegro

By, May 31, 2022

Representatives of the Civic Initiative Save Sinjajevina talked with representatives of the Ministry of Defense on April 1, 2022. This was the first meeting of the organization with the representatives of this Ministry after about four years of asking for it.

On behalf of the Civic Initiative Save Sinjajevina, the meeting was attended by Milan Sekulović, Novak Tomović, Vlado Šuković, and Mileva Jovanović, and on behalf of the Ministry of Defense, Acting Director General of the Directorate for Logistics, Lieutenant Colonel Veljko Malisic, Acting Adviser to the Chief of the General Staff for Civil-Military Relations, Lieutenant Colonel Radivoje Radović, and Chief of the Cabinet of the Minister of Defense, Predrag Lučić.

Representatives of the ministry said that their goal was to cooperate with the local communities, engagement completely omitted by the previous Government (2016-2020). They also pointed out that no military exercises were planned on Sinjajevina in the present year, which was very much welcomed by Save Sinjajevina, who informed the representatives of the Ministry that they insist on revoking the decision of creating the military training ground. They asked for an approximate deadline by which this could be achieved. However, the Ministry said that they still could not specify a deadline, but that they were aware that the previous Ministry / Government had made the decision on the military training ground “without taking into account all the elements of importance for its adoption”.

On behalf of the farmers (katunians) from Sinjajevina, Novak Tomović pointed out that the people will always be with their army, but that it must not go against its people. In accordance with that, the Save Sinjajevina representatives concluded that their clear request and position is that Sinjajevina should not be a military training ground, but an agro-pastoral territory, a touristic asset, and a regional nature park.

Nevertheless, shortly after this symbolic meeting, the Minister of the Defense, Ms. Injac, was replaced by Raško Konjevic who immediately announced, after meeting with British Ambassador Karen Maddox, “the need to actualize and resolve the issue of the military range in Sinjajevina, so that the Montenegrin Army could get the range necessary for building its capacities”. The recent replacement of the Defense Minister, along with his ambiguous statement and the Montenegrin army still officially considering Sinjajevina as one of the options, set off alarms for Sinjajevinan farmers, leading Save Sinjajevina to make a public statement on the 13th of May 2022 to declare “If in the previous government, Deputy Prime Minister Abazovic was prevented from resolving the issue, now as Prime Minister he has a historic chance to fulfill his promise and keep his word”.

Background and Actions here.

meeting to save sinjajevina

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