Montenegro’s Prime Minister, Dritan Abazovíc, expressed optimism about the flourishing relations between Montenegro and the Philippines, particularly under the leadership of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
During his visit to Manila, which coincided with the Montenegro men’s basketball team’s participation in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Abazovíc emphasized the significance of President Marcos’ warm welcome, even though his visit was unofficial. This gesture symbolized the Philippines’ openness to enhancing ties with the Southeastern European nation.
Start of cooperation
“I am very, very thankful to the President for the meeting because I came to the Philippines not officially… I think this is a very good beginning of the cooperation, more intense cooperation between the two countries,” Abazovíc stated in an interview with The Manila Times.
As Montenegro is often described as having the potential to become Singapore of Europe, the primary aim of their face-to-face encounter was to establish and strengthen bilateral relations between the two nations, with a particular focus on the tourism sector.
“I think the Philippines’ people would like to visit Montenegro, which is unique. And I think with the goodwill expressed during that meeting, we can do good things for our countries,” Abazovíc remarked, acknowledging the presence of Filipino workers in Montenegro’s tourism industry.
Abazovíc noted, “The Philippines is a big country in comparison to Montenegro. So, I think the role of the Philippines in the global economy, including Europe in the next decade will be bigger. So, this is the chance.”
Additionally, he expressed hope for the Philippines to open a consulate in Montenegro, facilitating diplomatic ties and fostering connections within the business community.
Global peace and friendship
Abazovíc envisioned Montenegro as a catalyst for global peace and friendship. He confirmed extending an invitation to President Marcos for a reciprocal visit and emphasized his country’s readiness to “think outside the box” and befriend nations around the world, especially the Philippines and its Asian neighbors.
“It’s not anymore just Europe, not just Asia, not just America. We should see the possibility to work together, and I think in that sense our country is ready,” Abazovíc affirmed.
Peace and future relations
As Montenegro’s prime minister and acting minister of foreign affairs, Abazovíc made history as the first ethnic Albanian and first Muslim to serve as prime minister of Montenegro. He highlighted Montenegro’s commitment to promoting peace, stability, and friendship, with a belief that the Philippines will play a pivotal role in shaping the world’s future relations.
The meeting between Prime Minister Abazovíc and President Marcos marked a promising beginning for the development of international relations, aligning with Montenegro’s vision of fostering global peace and cooperation.