The Day of Montenegrins was marked in Kosovo today. The most visible activity for the public was the reception of Montenegrins by Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti – however, it was claimed that this gathered group are not the union that brings together seven Montenegrin representative organizations, according to Slobodan Vujic from the Association of Montenegrins of Kosovo.
Kurti welcomed the Montenegrin delegation together with his deputy Emilia Rexhepi. The meeting was attended by the President of the Montenegrin Association „Lovcen“ in Kosovo – Lazar Radulovic, Seid Hadzic and Alen Mujevic from the Directorate for Cooperation with the Diaspora of the Republic of Montenegro, Biserka Djurdjevic from the Association of Montenegro in Podgorica and Acting Montenegrin Ambassador to Kosovo, Nicole Lulcuraj.
Congratulating the Day of Montenegrins in Kosovo, and at the same time the upcoming Independence Day of Montenegro, (to be celebrated tomorrow), Kurti said that „Kosovo and Montenegro supported mutual independence“, and that „both countries are united by a Euro-Atlantic orientation“.
„We want Albanians in Montenegro and Montenegrins in Kosovo to enjoy all the rights of their community, cultural and political rights, as a healthy basis for good relations between our two neighboring countries, for a better future for both peoples,“ Kurti said.
His cabinet states that Montenegrins „highly appreciated the importance of this meeting and marking this day“, to see it as „bringing together the position of the Montenegrin community in Kosovo, also „for building trust and neighboring relations between the two countries and peoples.
One of the biggest problems of the Montenegrin community in Kosovo is that it is not constitutionally recognized, said the president of the Association „Lovcen“ Lazar Radulovic after this meeting in a statement for RTV Kim from Caglavica.
Although he did not know the exact number of Montenegrins living in Kosovo, he however noted for this media that a census is planned for next year, while expressing confidence that the government of Albin Kurti will enable Montenegrins to have equal rights as other minority communities in Kosovo and enable the return of displaced persons.
„Prime Minister Kurti did not organize a reception for the Montenegrin community, but only for one Association,“ Slobodan M. Vujicic, president of the Association of Montenegrins of Kosovo, told KoSSev on the other side.
„Whether he knew that or was just deceived by his associates and the Embassy of Montenegro in Kosovo, we really don’t know. The fact is that at that meeting, the Prime Minister invited a minor organization, the Association of Montenegrins ‘Lovcen’, led by Lazar Radulovic, while he ignored the Union of Montenegrins of Kosovo, which gathers 7 Montenegrin organizations. At the same time, the Union won the elections for representatives of Montenegrins in the Advisory Council for Communities, with an absolute majority under the auspices of the President, and has two representatives out of two,“ he claimed to our portal.
There was no census of Montenegrin nationality in the 2011 Kosovo constitution, which was also boycotted by Serb-majority communities. As Vujicic announced in May 2019, referring to the decision of the Kosovo Agency for Statistics, that will change in 2021.
In a conversation with KoSSev this evening, Vujicic reminds of the numbers about how many Montenegrins live in Kosovo and Metohija, claiming that the numbers are lower due to „assimilation“.
„Before the war, there were 27,028 people living, according to the last census. According to the UNHCR, a little over 8,300 fled to Serbia, while a little more than 5,300 fled to Montenegro, according to the data that Montenegro had and worked on. According to some estimates, about 4,000 have fled to a third country. So, when you deduct all that, out of 27,028 we have a real number of remaining Montenegrins in Kosovo, but we must not ignore the fact that we are not a constitutional category, that the Government of Kosovo does nothing to protect and improve our overall position, so it is possible „Because of the struggle for a bare life, a significant number of Orthodox Montenegrins were assimilated into Serbs, while also a large number of Montenegrins of the Islamic faith were assimilated into Bosniaks.“
The Association, i.e. the Union of Montenegrins in Kosovo, supported the protests in Montenegro that preceded the elections and the change of government, and in Gracanica they participated in liturgies in support of the Montenegrin metropolitanate.
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