Save Sinjajevina and the Ministry of Defense meet in Podgorica but doesn’t agree on a deadline for the military ground

Representatives of the Ministry of Defense (left), receive representatives of Save Sinjajevina (right) at the headquarters of the Montenegrin Government

Representatives of the Civic Initiative Save Sinjajevina talked with representatives of the Ministry of Defense on April 1, 2022. This is the first meeting of the organization with the representatives of this Ministry after about four years 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
engagement completely omitted by the previous Government (2016-2020).

“The army must never go against its people, we request an agro-pastoral territory, touristic asset and regional nature park instead of a military training ground”.

Novak Tomović, farmer and member of the Save Sinjajevina Association.

They also pointed out that no military exercises were planned on Sinjajevina in the
present year, which was very 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 within which this could be achieved. However, the Ministry says that they still cannot specify a deadline, but that they are aware that the previous Ministry / Government 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 transmitting 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, short after this symbolic meeting, the Minister of the
Defense, Ms. Injac, was changed by Mr. 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 change of the
Defense Minister along with his ambiguous statement and the
Montenegrin army still officially considering Sinjajevina as one of the
options, woke up immediately all the alarms of Sinjajevinan farmers
pushing Save Sinjajevina to make a public statement on the 13 th 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”.

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