Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Montenegro Prime Minister Dritan Abazovíc Seeks Stronger Ties with the Philippines under Marcos Administration

05 September 2023, Manila, Philippines – Prime Minister Dritan Abazovíc of Montenegro sees thriving relations between his country and the Philippines under the leadership of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. He expressed this sentiment during his groundbreaking visit to the country, marking a historic moment as the first-ever head of state from Montenegro to set foot in the Republic. 

Despite the private nature of his visit to support Montenegro's men's basketball team in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Marcos extended warm courtesies to Abazovíc, recognizing the profound significance of this diplomatic exchange.

During their face-to-face meeting at Malacañang, the Prime Minister expressed his deep gratitude to Marcos for the warm reception despite his unofficial visit. He emphasized that this visit marks the beginning of intensified cooperation between the two nations and opens doors for strengthening bilateral relations, with a particular focus on tourism.

"I am 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 more intense cooperation between the two countries," said Abazovíc.

Abazovíc also expressed optimism about the potential for the Philippines and Montenegro to foster a deeper connection. He highlighted the allure of Montenegro's unique tourism offerings and emphasized the desire to facilitate easier access for Filipino tourists. The discussion encompassed opportunities for Filipino workers in Montenegro's expanding tourism and energy sectors.

“The Philippines must have an established presence in our country. To do this, we must have access. So, we're talking about flights between Manila and Podgorica [Montenegro's capital]. I hope for the Philippines to also open a consulate in our country because you have consulates in countries around us, which are bigger. But having that kind of diplomatic place where we can share not just services for the people but also share contacts in the business community, I think that can be very productive. In that sense, I see the role of the Philippines will have more impact in Europe. That's what we want to do in the beginning," he said.

Montenegro, a nation known for its stunning landscapes, including UNESCO World Heritage sites like Boka Bay, beckons tourists seeking authenticity and natural beauty. The country's commitment to environmental sustainability, enshrined in its constitution, positions it as an ecological gem. Abazovíc encouraged Filipinos to explore Montenegro's pristine landscapes, inviting them to discover a land where crystal-clear rivers offer safe drinking water.

Energy cooperation also emerged as a significant point of discussion, with Montenegro boasting abundant energy resources. The nation has harnessed wind and solar power, facilitating the possibility of technology transfer and expertise exchange with the Philippines.

During the press conference, Abazovíc shared his views on global peace and stability, affirming Montenegro's dedication to promoting these values. He encouraged nations to respect international law and uphold shared values, emphasizing the importance of cooperation and diplomacy.

Abazovíc also expressed his hope for a reciprocal visit from Marcos and highlighted Montenegro's readiness to serve as a bridge between Southeastern Europe and Asia. As the Philippines and Montenegro embark on this journey to enhance bilateral relations, the historic meeting between the two leaders serves as a promising starting point for a flourishing partnership.

Montenegro is a country "that always promotes peace, stability and friendship. And I think the Philippines will play an important role in the next decade. This meeting with President Marcos is a good beginning of world relations, of what we want to develop in the near future," Abazovíc said.


Prime Minister Dritan Abazovíc took office in Montenegro in April 2022, making history as the first ethnic Albanian and first Muslim to serve as Prime Minister. 

At 37 years old, he is currently one of the world's youngest state leaders and also serves as the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs for Montenegro.

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