July 12, 2014

Cetinje: Statehood Day of Montenegro
On the occasion of July 13, Statehood Day, the President of Montenegro Filip Vujanović hosted an official reception in Blue Palace in Cetinje.

The reception was attended by a great number of invitees, representatives of political, scientific, cultural, economic, public and sports life of Montenegro, as well as national heroes and former state officials.

The representatives of diplomatic corps and high representatives of international organizations and institutions were also present.

The following is the text of the speech given by the President:

Dear citizens of Montenegro,
Dear citizens of the Old Royal Capital of Cetinje,
Distinguished State and Local-Government Officials,
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

There are many important and great dates in our centuries-long history that we all have been rightly proud of. And each date is a symbol of fight for and defence of freedom and humanity. However, July 13th, our Statehood Day, holiday of all our citizen, surpasses each of them and deserves the widest respect.

The first July 13th, back in 1878, when independence of Montenegro was recognized at the Berlin Congress, lifted Montenegro to the heights, placing it among other free European states and nations. The second July 13th, back in 1941, was the date when the citizens of Montenegro, in the great anti-fascist uprising, massively and determinedly, beyond all ideological and social boundaries, said "NO" to the fascism and subjection, thus eternally and widely celebrating freedom-loving spirit of Montenegro, in the then occupied Europe.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year marks the century from the start of World War I. The huge global war, the cause of which has still been debated in the academic and political circles, with undisputed tragic consequences. More than 14 million people lost their lives. New technology of the time was used for killing millions of innocent people in the cruel war machinery. That war shook the foundations of Europe and opened perspective for another, even worse war: World War II. Montenegro experienced sufferings and losses in the First World War as well, after which it lost its independence that it fought for centuries. And Montenegro won it back at the Berlin Congress on that great July 13th. Despite being an important ally of the winners, Montenegro was left without independent state. Unconstitutionally and unjustly, and, given its participation in war, incongruously. Therefore, it will remain noted in the history that one of the winners of the war did not save its state despite the support of other allies and their policies.

So, this year commemorating the century of the beginning of World War I is a strong proof and reminder of the senselessness of war and necessity and value of peace. Therefore, marking the century of war is a moral and message of the absurdity of war and appeal for the ever-lasting peace.

This year is another reminder that we should learn from the past mistakes so to avoid them in future. Especially we in the Balkans. Could anyone tell, after all tragedies of the World Wars I and II, that there would be another war on the territory of former Yugoslavia? War that took hundreds of thousands of lives, forced millions of people to leave their homes and caused huge material damage. And that happened at time when the tragedies of the two world wars were not forgotten yet. We have to be proud in Montenegro that we were the only ex Yugoslav country which had not been affected by war, killings and devastation. For the first time we learnt the lesson from the past for the sake of better future. We understood that we should not be divided, that we had to stick together in order to be saved. We understood that we had paid high price for past wars and that ensuring peace is our pledge and commitment to future generations. The incomparable and utmost commitment.

For this reason, the year, in which we commemorate World War I centenary, reminds us once more of the necessity of overcoming divisions. By overcoming divisions, we ensure stability and peace, strongly, clearly and lastingly. We ensure prosperity and unity. And, equally, we ensure our reputation in the international community, within which integrations serve as a foundation of peace. The integrations, such as UN, EU and NATO, emerged as moral and message of the war, with the aim to maintaining peace. ThatÈs why each country has aspired and aspires to become a part of the great family of nations. ThatÈs why each country is willing to stay within this family, as, in addition to peace, it ensures their economic development and political image.

For this reason, here, from the Old Royal Capital of Cetinje, beneath the Lovćen mountain, I would also like to use this opportunity to call us all to continue to cherish our precious traditions and to be jointly committed to the prosperity of all citizens of Montenegro and our country. The achievements that we make in our European and Euro-Atlantic integrations and expected membership to these associations are great assurance of our stability and progress and significant and irreplaceable foreign policy and overall interest of Montenegro.

May Montenegro be eternal!

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