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Press Availability with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld with Prime Minister of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic in Podgorica, Montenegro

Presenters: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Prime Minister of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic
September 26, 2006
     Prime Minister-Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to express my pleasure to have an opportunity to welcome today US Secretary of Defense, Mr Donald Rumsfeld, and his party.

     Prime Minister-We see this visit as recognition (as delivered, missing MN phrase "which comes several months after the restoration of Montenegro's independence") of what Montenegro has done in contributing to the stability of the region as also (as delivered, missing MN phrase "as a recognition of our developed bilateral relations) as encouragement to our European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

    Prime Minister- I've used the opportunity of ...

     Prime Minister- ...this meeting with Mr Rumsfeld to brief him on economic political and security situation as well as our plans at hand for the future.

     Prime Minister- I have expressed our readiness for further development of a strategic partnership with the United States.

     Prime Minister- Of course, taking into account all the differences in terms of disproportion between the United States and Montenegro, but also taking into account US foreign policy plans relating to this part of the world.

     Prime Minister-In view of all of the cooperation we've had in the previous period and the support we have enjoyed from the United States in the far more difficult years of our most recent history, I believe that room for cooperation between Montenegro and the United States is... lies in the political, security and military spheres.

     Prime Minister- Quite understandably, Mr Rumsfeld and I have particularly discussed cooperation in the defence sphere.

     Prime Minister- I have brought to his attention our expectations from that cooperation and also, on the other hand, our readiness to make a contribution to that cooperation.

     Prime Minister- Our expectations lie primarily in the transfer of experience, expertise and know-how in (as delivered, mistranslation as "military sphere" which shoulld have been "a modern designing of our defense system").

     Prime Minister-Now that we are only in the initial stage of organizing our defence function we are interested in making sure that that function and that organization of that function be in conformity with our Euro-Atlantic aspiration.

     Prime Minister-We are also interested in United States support in the further reform of the military in Montenegro.

     Prime Minister- In this regard we`ve discussed several modalities of cooperation

     Prime Minister- We are also interested in getting support from the United States for our joining the Partnership for Peace early.

     Prime Minister- We are equally interested in US support in making sure that we join the Regional Defence Initiative.

     Prime Minister- I have in mind primarily the South-East Europe Defence Ministers` Initiative as well as our joining the Adriatic Charter Initiative.

     Prime Minister-We... I have told Mr Rumsfeld we are ready to sign a status of forces agreement soon. .

     Prime Minister-And I have also expressed to Mr Rumsfeld our full readiness to contribute to the coalition of the global fight against terrorism and our readiness to also contribute to that end within our future Euro-Atlantic integration.

     Prime Minister-It is my conviction that cooperation in the defence sphere can represent significant ecouragement and contribution to cooperation between Montenegro and United States in general. (As delivered, the PM's phrase ends there. The interpreter added "and to bilateral cooperation in general specifically.")

     Prime Minister-Mr Rumsfeld, you have the floor.

     Mr Rumsfeld- Well, Prime Minister, thank you so much. It's a pleasure to be here in a free and independent Montenegro. I thank you and the people of Montenegro for your hospitality.

     Mr Rumsfeld- I remember visiting this part of the world back in 1971. It was... it was a very different world and yours was a very different country.

     Mr Rumsfeld-We discussed a very thoughtful letter that I received from the Prime Minister and the President indicating Montenegro's desire to be a contributor to trans-Atlantic security. (Note - interpretation leaves out mention of letter but attributes contributor to security phrase to the talks.)

     Mr Rumsfeld- We of course all benefit from the global economy and I know your economy is growing at a very rapid clip.

     Mr Rumsfeld- So it`s appropriate that we all contribute to the security that provides so much benefit to all of us and we respect your decision to do so.

     Mr Rumsfeld- United States fully supports Montenegro's request to join the Partnership for Peace.

     Mr Rumsfeld- It means that we are ready to support your aspiration to integrate into NATO and other international institutions.

     Mr Rumsfeld- This is a busy time for Montenegro and a short time as you work to strenghten democracy and implement your economic reforms.

     Mr Rumsfeld- And so the United States looks forward to working with you on defence reforms and other reforms and to a bright future in the relationship between our two nations.

     QUESTIONS from press: 

     Montenegrin Media- If I can ask Mr Secretary, what are your impressions after the meeting with Montenegrin officials and what do you think are the qualifications that would recommend Montenegro's joining the Partnership for Peace program at the next Riga summit? 

     Mr Rumsfeld- My impressions are these: 

     Mr Rumsfeld- this newly free and independent country is at a historic moment in its history. 

     Mr Rumsfeld- The decisions that it makes and the directions it chooses, the paths that it takes, will chart the history of the country for many decades. 

     Mr Rumsfeld- It is encouraging to see a government and a people (interpreter combined these two, government and people, and made it "country" in local language) make choices to join the world community, to participate in Euro-Atlantic institutions and to undertake the kinds of difficult reforms that will enable them to do so. 

     Mr Rumsfeld– That Montenegro has been able to come through in a peaceful way, in an orderly way with such success, I think is a good sign for their succes in the future. 

     Mr Rumsfeld – We hope that Montenegro will not only become an early member of Partnership for Peace but also participate fully in the many opportunities that that offers to join with other countries, partner countries and NATO countries (Note - interpreter left of "NATO countries" in local language), in contributing to peace (Note - interpreter left out "peace") and security in the world. 

     Associated Press- Mr Secretary, Mr Prime Minister, could you tell us specifically what parts of either support or contributions Montenegro could make to the global war on terror that you discussed today, in specifics. And also whether or not that may include sending armed forces to either Iraq or Afghanistan? 

     Mr Djukanovic I have already said that we are prepared to accept all responsibilities of a nation that aspires to join Europe and Euro- Atlantic integration.
The danger from terrorism we in Montenegro see as global threat to the world`s peace and security. And that`s why we are prepared to participate in the US led coalition in fighting terrorism as a threat to global peace. 

     What forms the concrete participation of Montenegro would take, Mr Rumsfeld and I at this point did not discuss in any greater detail. 

     This will certainly be the object of our future discussions and cooperation between the resprective Ministries of Defence which will, at an expert level, certainly follow in future. 

     It is important to note that within the defence system and in its military, Montenegro already has a special operation unit. 

     So designing our army in accordance with the requirements of Euro- Atlantic integration we take into account the need to accomodate such.. to fulfill such requirements and to have such a unit. 

     We are conscious that participation in peace keeping operations implies very careful preparation and very careful planning. 

     And our thinking currently in this regard is based on voluntary decisions on the part of members of our military to participatie in such operations. 

     Ms. V. Jovovic (Moderator) - Mr Rumsfeld? 

     Mr Rumsfeld- Nothing to add. 

     Interpreter- (repeats) I have nothing to add (laughter at her repeating English phrase). Oh, nemam ništa da dodam. 

     Reuters- Mr Secretary I wonder if you can talk about the kind of military assistance that the United States is prepared to provide Montenegro as it rebuilds or reshapes its military and are there certain needs or areas that they have or that they could develop that could be useful for international operations? 

     Mr Rumsfeld- I' d be happy to. 

     Mr Rumsfeld- First United States is ready to cooperate in ways that the Government of Montenegro feels are appropriate. 

     Mr Rumsfeld- As with a number of other countries in the Partnership for Peace programs, we` ve been asked by the Government of Montenegro to assist them in defence reform as they undertake those kinds of changes that will make their military more compatible with the NATO and the partner countries. 

     Mr Rumsfeld- We`ve been asked to look for ways that we might try to be helpful to them as they wrestle with the task of destroying outdated and somewhat dangerous and unstable weapons from an earlier era. (Note: Interpreter got sense that the US asked Montenegro how the US could help them, thus reversing the actor/recipient relationship of this sentence.) 

     Mr Rumsfeld- We` ve been asked to see if it`s possible to have one of our states in the United States have their national guard cooperate on a partner basis with Montenegro (Note - Interpreter added "to be a help to Montenegro" in local language) which we think is something that we` d like to cooperate with (interpreter said "we'd like to consider that kind of cooperation" in local language). 

     Mr Rumsfeld- Then, as Prime Minister indicated, as they make their decisions with respect to their defence reform and decide on the specific areas they want to concentrate on, we will undoubtedly cooperate with them and assist them in those areas as well. 

     Mr Rumsfeld- The Prime Minister mentioned two specifically -one is peace keeping and goodness knows there is a need in this world of ours for capable, competent, well- equipped, well-trained peace keepers. 

     Mr Rumsfeld- And he also mentioned special operations and special competence in that area. 

     Mr Rumsfeld- And the United States of course cooperates with other countries in those two areas on a rather broad basis. (Note: Interpreter said "the US looks forward to these interests and expects cooperation between the two countries in those two areas" in local language.) 

     Moderator- And the fourth and last question. 

     Montenegrin Media – Nedjeljko Rudovic, Vijesti. The Government of Montenegro... this is both for the Prime Minister and the Secretary of Defence. The Government of Montenegro has said that its strategic goal is membership in NATO. How do you see prospects for Montenegro joining the membership, NATO membership in view of the growing Russian investment in Montenegro and practically open opposition of .. expressed by Russian officials to Montenegro.. to this end. 

     Mr Djukanovic- I think that Montenegro is open for foreign investors coming both from the East and from the West. 

     Of course, the one thing that we pay great attention to is to make sure that the money that comes both from the East and from the West is money which is acquired through lawful means. 

     I can not see that big countries, even the greatest like Russia and US, that they act any differently from this. 

     On the contrary, I think that we all are seeing an increasing level of cooperation in this regard between the states in the world including making sure that these two countires in all areas including defense as well. 

     The choice to pursue European and Euro-Atlantic integration is our choice, the choice we`ve made in Montenegro. 

     We have struggled to make sure we have the right to determine our future. 

     We have acquired that right in the referendum and we will take great pains to make sure we can preserve that right. 

     Incidentally, let me say by the way, that in the talks I have had at the highest level in Russia, I have clearly stated that Montenegro just as the other states, the other nations in the region, has very clear aspirations to join Europe and Euro- Atlantic structures and I can express these aspirations about Montenegro's plans without any hesitation and in no discussion did I hear a single word of opposition to Montenegro`s right to determine its future. 

     Mr Rumsfeld- I, too, see it as a choice for a free and independent Montenegro. It`s their choice. (Note: In local language, both sentences are different. "I just say that each independent state takes decisions on its own. I don't see any other choice.")

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