Montenegro

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Overview

Montenegro was part of the former Yugoslavia at one time. Illyrians originally settled the area, followed by the Greeks, Celts, Byzantines, Romans and the Slavs. The nation was eventually Christianized under Nicholas I and later united with Serbia to fight the Turks of the Ottoman Empire. Nicholas oversaw the expansion of Montenegro’s borders and led it toward independence in 1878. Italy occupied the country during World War II, and Montenegro adopted socialism as part of Yugoslavia during the Cold War. In 1992, Montenegro joined with Serbia as Yugoslavia began to break up, leaving behind a truncated Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. While Serbia became involved in the war in Bosnia, Montenegro remained largely out of the conflict. The Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro became the dominant political force in the country throughout the 1990s. During this time Montenegro became a hotspot for smuggling due to its location on the Adriatic Sea. In 2003, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia renamed itself Serbia and Montenegro. This lasted until June 2006 when Montenegro became completely independent. The United States soon thereafter established diplomatic relations with Montenegro.

 
Montenegro is a member of the United Nations, and a potential candidate for entrance into the European Union. The country presented its official EU application in 2008 and is hoping to gain EU candidate status in 2010. Montenegro is also currently an official candidate for membership in NATO, having been offered a Membership Action Plan by the alliance in 2009.
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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: Montenegro occupies an area slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut, and lies between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania. Its terrain is varied, from the mountainous regions with thick forests to central plains and the Adriatic coast, with a few small islands off the coast. The climate is generally continental, and Mediterranean off the coast.

 
Population: 678,177
 
Religions: Orthodox 74.2%, Muslim 17.7%, Catholic 3.5%, other 3.6%, non-religious 1%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Montenegrin 43%, Serbian 32%, Bosniak 8%, Albanian 5%, other (Croats, Roma) 12%.
 
Languages: Serbian 63.6%, Montenegrin (official) 22%, Bosnian 5.5%, Albanian 5.3%, unspecified 3.7%.
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History

The area now known as Montenegro was originally settled by the Illyrians before the 6th century. Subsequently, the Greeks and Celts formed settlements to enhance trade in the region. The Romans eventually conquered the Illyrian kingdom and divided the territory with the Byzantine Empire.

 
From the 6th to the 7th century, the Slavs settled the region, and Serbs migrated from the Bay of Kotor to the River of Bojana. Much of the population was Christianized during this time and remained so until the fall of the Serbian Realm in 960.
 
In 1042, Stefan Vojislav began an uprising against Byzantine domination. In 1077, Pope Gregory VII recognized Duklja was an independent state, with King Mihailo as its king.
 
Venice started to take control of southern Dalmatia in the 10th century. The Republic of Venice dominated the coast of what is today known as Montenegro from 1420 to 1797. During those four centuries, the area became known as Albania Veneto, or Venetian-Albania-Montenegro.
 
During the 15th century, the Turks started to conquer the Balkans, and many Christian Slavs took refuge in Dalmatia. Unrest between the groups gave rise to the assassination of Danilo by Todor Kadic in 1860. Montenegrins proclaimed Nicholas as his successor, and in the next few years, Nicholas waged an unsuccessful war against Turkey. 
 
By 1875, Montenegro joined with Serbia. The united forces were initially defeated by the Turks, but when Russia routed the Ottoman Empire in 1876, Montenegro gained 1,900 square miles of new territory and gained the port of Bar. On July 13, 1878, Montenegro was recognized as an independent country by the Great Powers of Europe and the Congress of Berlin.
 
Nicholas also oversaw the drafting of the country’s first constitution, and he was elevated to the rank of king in 1910. In the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, Montenegro gained even more territory by splitting Sanjak with Serbia. At the same time, the captured city of Skadar was given up to the new country of Albania. 
 
During World War I, Montenegro suffered great losses. Austro-Hungarian forces invaded Serbia, and Montenegro wasted no time in declaring war against the Central Powers. Montenegrin forces were able to repel a second wave of attacks, and almost succeeded in liberating Sarajevo. But with the third wave of invasions, Montenegrin forces were overrun. Nicholas fled to Italy and then to France, and transferred the government’s functions to Bordeaux. The Allies eventually liberated Montenegro from the Austrians, but the National Assembly of Podgorica accused Nicholas of trying to negotiate a separate peace with the enemy. He was deposed in 1918, and Montenegro joined the Kingdom of Serbia. 
 
During World War II, Italy’s forces occupied Montenegro beginning in 1941. During this time, the Queen of Italy convinced her husband to force Mussolini to create an independent Montenegro. This was against the wishes of the Croats and Albanians, who had designs on Montenegrin territory. Her nephew, Prince Michael of Montenegro, was offered the new crown of Montenegro, but he never accepted it and instead pledged his loyalty to King Peter II of Yugoslavia.
 
As the Second World War continued, a fascist government was formed in Montenegro called the Independent State of Montenegro, and the country suffered a terrible guerilla war when the German army replaced the Italians in September 1943. Germany was eventually ousted by forces led by General Tito, who established Montenegro as one of the six republics of Yugoslavia. 
 
From 1945-1992, Montenegro was part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and Montenegro became more economically stable due to economic development and tourism. In October 1991, war broke throughout Croatia as part of the Croatian War of Independence. On October 1, JNA forces (the Yugoslav People’s Army) from Montenegro advanced to attack and occupy Prevlaka, Konavle, Cavtat and the entire area around Dubrovnik, including the international airport. At the time, Montenegrin officials presented the siege as part of a "War for Peace” that would allow Montenegro to definitively settle its borders with Croatia. The Croatian counterattack finally lifted the siege and liberated the area in mid-1992 after suffering heavy losses, and the United Nations stepped in to supervise the area as the war ended.
 
As Communist Yugoslavia broke apart, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia all seceded from Yugoslavia and declared independence. This left Montenegro still joined with Serbia, but with a new multi-party political system and new leaders that had been swept into power as part of the “anti-bureaucratic revolution.” However, the multi-party system was unfamiliar, and the three main leaders of Montenegro quickly repackaged communist ideas into a new party called the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro. This party has ruled Montenegro ever since. 
 
Popular support led to the April 1992 referendum that led Montenegro to join Serbia in forming the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The United Nations placed an embargo on the FRY in response to Serbian aggression towards Bosnia and the outbreak of warfare in the region. While Montenegro was spared from the fighting that consumed much of the Balkans, the country became a hotspot for smuggling, due to its location on the Adriatic Sea. Soon, much of the country’s economy was supported by the smuggling of gas and cigarettes, both of which suffered huge price hikes. Citizens as well as government officials got caught up in this activity.
 
In 1997, a bitter dispute over presidential election results occurred. Milo Đukanović won in a second-round run-off plagued with irregularities. The political fighting split apart the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro, with one side breaking away to form the Socialist People’s Party of Montenegro, which stayed loyal to Serbian leader Slobodan Milošević.
 
Serbia in 1999 carried out attacks against Kosovo, provoking a military response by NATO. Montenegro was spared from much of this devastation.
 
In 2003, after years of wrangling and outside assistance, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia renamed itself “Serbia and Montenegro.” This lasted until 2006 when a Montenegrin referendum resulted in 55% of votes being cast for independence. Montenegro declared its independence on June 3, 2006.
 
In March 2007 Montenegrin officials apologized for involvement in the 1991 attacks on the Croatian city of Dubrovnik, which caused several hundred civilian deaths and destroyed countless homes, and agreed to pay damages. Some estimates place the value of the damage at around €35 million.
 
In 2008 the Montenegrin government recognized the independence of Kosovo, the small ethnic Albanian region in the territory of southern Serbia. This move strained its relations with former federal partner Serbia and other European countries.
 
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History of U.S. Relations with Montenegro

The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was a conglomeration of six regional republics and two autonomous provinces that was roughly divided on ethnic lines. Following a string of violent conflicts during the 1990s Yugoslavia split into several independent countries, including Serbia and Montenegro,.

The West intervened in the breakup of Yugoslavia relatively early, but lacked the collective will and military force to prevent large-scale warfare. The period of the early Yugoslav warscoincided with the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, as well as the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, thus rendering the Western powers sufficiently distracted. A global recession further reduced the West's desire to intervene in a country some saw as a quagmire without strategic.
 
From 2003 to 2006, Serbia and Montenegro formed the "State Union of Serbia and Montenegro." This union was the successor to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On May 21 2006, Montenegro held a referendum to determine whether or not to end its union with Serbia. The next day, state-certified results showed 55.4% of voters in favor of independence, just above the 55% required by the referendum, and Serbia and Montenegro became separate nations in June 2006.
 
Formal relations between the United States and Montenegro began in August 2006, when the US recognized Montenegro’s independence. Currently, the US maintains an embassy in Podgorica. A variety of U.S. assistance programs have been put into place in Montenegro and are aimed towards improving its economic climate and strengthening its democratic structures. In order to further develop commercial ties between the U.S. and Montenegro, the first American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham Montenegro) was launched on November 19, 2008, and as part of the economic partnership between Montenegro and the United States, the U.S.-Montenegro Business Council was formally opened in Podgorica on December 16, 2008.
 
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Current U.S. Relations with Montenegro

Notable Monenegrin-Americans

Milla Jovovich is a Ukrainian-born American actress and model. During the span of her career, Jovovich has played notable roles in the films The Fifth Element (1997), Zoolander (2001), Resident Evil (2002), Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), and Resident Evil: Extinction (2007). Her paternal great-grandfather, Bogić Camić Jovović, was an officer in the guard of King Nicholas I of Montenegro.
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Edina Lekovic is the Communications Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. She has made many appearances in the media including and has also written for several leading newspapers. Lekovic’s parents came from Montenegro and she identifies herself as a European Muslim
 
Nikola Petanović (1892-1932) was an American Montenegrin emigrant, philosopher, writer, political publicist and fighter for Montenegro's sovereignty and independence. Born in the village of Podgor in Crmnica, Princedom of Montenegro, he moved to the United States  in 1912. Upon hearing about the 1918 unification of Montenegro with the Kingdom of Serbia, Petanović worried that Montenegro's sovereignty was being unjustly extinguished and began to advocate for Montenegrin sovereignty in the U.S. His work failed to receive widespread attention until after his death.
 
There are several US aid programs in place to help Montenegro improve its economy and democracy. Some of them are designed to stimulate local economic growth and business development, as well as strengthen the law.
 
In May 1, 2007, President Vujanovic met with US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice during a visit to Washington, DC. Speaker of the Parliament Ranko Krivokapic visited Washington in November 2007 and met with Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives.
 
The Montenegrin military also established a partnership with the Maine Army National Guard and efforts are underway to broaden this relationship to include cooperation in the civilian sector.
 
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Where Does the Money Flow

In 2009, the and the United States’ leading export to Montenegro were new and used passenger cars ($3.3 million) and drilling/oilfield equipment ($2.3 million). Other major exports included unmanufactured agricultural goods ($2 million), medicinal equipment ($1.3 million), generators and accessories ($1.1 million), plastic materials ($1.1 million), and household appliances ($1.1 million).

 
US imports from Montenegro were led by machine tools, metalworking, molding and rolling ($10.5 million), and industrial machinery classified as ‘other’ ($3.2 million). Other significant imports included finished metal ($1.3 million) and non-farm tractors ($.4 million).
 
The US gave $8.5 million in aid to Montenegro in 2009. The budget allotted the most funds to Private Sector Competitiveness ($4.2 million), Civil Society ($1.8 million), and Rule of Law and Human Rights ($1 million). 
 
The 2010 budget estimate increased funding to $10.6 million. 
 
The 2011budget request will give $11.3 million to Montenegro, and the majority of aid will be dedicated to fighting corruption: Stabilization Operations and Security Sector Reform ($1.8 million), Good Governance ($1.7 million), and Rule of Law and Human Rights ($1.6 million).
 
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Controversies

Montenegro Accused of Caving to US Pressure on Kosovo

In October 2008 the government of Montenegro recognized the independence of Kosovo, a former republic within Serbia, prompting thousands of pro-Serbian Montenegrins to take to the streets in protest. Police had to fire tear gas at the protesters who pelted state buildings and fired flares. Chanting “Treason! Treason!” and “Kosovo is Serbia!” the protesters condemned the decision to recognize the former Serbian province which declared independence in February 2008.
 
Earlier, some 10,000 protesters demanded that Montenegro’s pro-Western government withdraw recognition of Kosovo, or face attempts to topple it “by unparliamentary means.” Others demanded a referendum on Kosovo’s recognition. About 35% of Montenegro’s population of 650,000 identify themselves as Serbs.
 
After Montenegro and Macedonia recognized Kosovo, Serbia’s government expelled the two neighboring countries’ ambassadors and threatened additional retaliatory measures. Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic of Montenegro accused Serbia of wanting to continue to influence his country’s policies. Belgrade “is forgetting that we are now a sovereign country which is making the decisions in its own interest,” Djukanovic said. He denied Montenegro had been pressured by the United States and others to recognize Kosovo.
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Human Rights

According to the U.S. State Department, Montenegro’s government has been accused of “allowing police mistreatment of suspects in detention, substandard prison conditions, abusive and arbitrary arrests, police impunity, lengthy pretrial detention, delayed and inefficient trials, widespread perception of corruption in law enforcement agencies and the judiciary, physical assaults on journalists, excessive monetary judgments against the media for slander, denial of public and press access to information, mistreatment and discrimination against the large number of refugees and internally displaced persons, sectarian intolerance and homophobia, discrimination against women, trafficking in persons, and discrimination against ethnic minorities,” .

 
Police at times beat suspects during arrests, or while suspects were detained for questioning. According to media reports, citizens pressed a number of charges against law enforcement officers for abuse against citizens during their arrest or when they were in detention.
 
The government investigated police abuses, but criminal charges and convictions against police were rare. Police corruption was a problem; the small, close-knit society discouraged the reporting of corruption and facilitated criminals’ access to law enforcement officers.
 
Insufficient cooperation between police and prosecutors, a large backlog of cases, frequently primitive courtroom facilities, and judicial corruption each has remained a problem. Many cases take years to resolve; however, courts have made progress in reducing the backlogs of civil and criminal cases.
 
The law requires the National Security Agency (NSA) to obtain court authorization for a wiretap. But some observers believed that police selectively used wiretapping and surveillance against opposition parties and other groups without court authorization. Many individuals and organizations operated on the assumption that they were, or could be, under surveillance.
 
There were some reports that some elements in society continued to discriminate against some religious communities. Tensions continued between the canonically unrecognized Montenegrin Orthodox Church and the Serbian Orthodox Church, including over church property.
 
The World Bank’s worldwide governance indicators reflect that corruption was a serious problem. There were widespread allegations of corruption in the privatization of state assets. Observers noted that a lack of transparency prevented citizens from judging the validity of those allegations.
 
Violence and discrimination against women, child abuse, trafficking in persons, and discrimination against ethnic minorities were problems. Rape, including spousal rape, is illegal. But enforcement remained a significant problem. Trafficking in women for sexual exploitation was a problem. Sexual harassment was a problem. It was tolerated by society at large. Traditional patriarchal ideas of gender, which maintained that women should be subservient to male members of their families, persisted and resulted in continued discrimination against women in the home.
 
Child marriage was a problem, particularly among Roma. In the Roma community, boys and girls generally married at an early age, with girls marrying somewhat earlier than boys. The problem was generally ignored by the government.
 
Societal discrimination against ethnic minorities was a problem. Prejudice against Roma was widespread, and local authorities often ignored or tacitly condoned their intimidation or mistreatment.
Society generally showed antipathy towards homosexuals, leading most homosexuals to conceal their identity. Violence against homosexuals was rare and not condoned by the government.
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

Note: The United States recognized the Republic of Montenegro on Jun 13, 2006 and established relations with it on Aug. 15. The US Consulate in Podgorica became an embassy Oct 5, 2006, with Arlene Ferrill as Charge d’Affaires ad interim.

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Montenegro's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Darmanovic, Srdjan

Montenegro’s ambassador to the United States since November 2010, Srdjan Darmanovic knows a thing or two about strategy, both the diplomatic kind and that used on a chess board.

 
Born in 1961, Darmanovic served in the former Yugoslavia’s federal parliament from 1992-1996.
 
In 1997, he founded and became president of the Centre for Democracy and Human Rights, a nongovernmental organization and think tank based in Podgorica, Montenegro. He remained with the center until accepting his ambassador post in the U.S.
 
Concurrently, he was an international research group member for the Aspen Institute (1997-1998), as well as an associate professor of comparative politics at the University of Montenegro and the first dean of the university’s faculty of political science (2003-2010).
 
He testified twice before the Helsinki Commission of the U.S. Congress (1998, 2000), and has been a guest lecturer at The Johns Hopkins University, as well as at universities in Rome, Hamburg and Belgrade, where he was a member of the political science faculty.
 
Darmanovic has been a member of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe since 2005, working on the commission’s Council for Democratic Elections and Sub-Committee for Democratic Institutions.
 
He is the author of two books—Malformed Democracy: the Drama of Yugoslav Post-Communism (1993) and Real-Socialism: Anatomy of a Collapse (1996). Darmanovic also has co-authored several books and written articles in publications such as the Washington, DC-based Journal of Democracy and the East European Constitutional Review in New York City and Budapest.
 
Darmanovic is an international chess master with a rating of 2,282. He is ranked 9,861th in the world and 39th in Monenegro, according to the World Chess Federation.
 
Biography (Washington Diplomat)
FIDE Chess Profile (World Chess Federation)

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Montenegro's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.

Montenegro’s Embassy in the US

Montenegrin Embassy
1610 New Hampshire Avenue N.W.
Washington D.C. 20009
1-202-234-6108
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U.S. Ambassador to Montenegro

Uyehara, Margaret
ambassador-image

 

President Barack Obama nominated Margaret Ann Uyehara to be the U.S. ambassador to Montenegro on July 9, 2014. It would be the first ambassadorial posting for Uyehara, a career member of the Foreign Service.

 

Uyehara is from Berea, Ohio, and attended Kalamazoo College in Michigan, graduating in 1981 with a B.A. in political science.

 

Her first State Department posting was as a general services officer in the U.S. Embassy in Mali in 1983. In 1985, she was sent to the embassy in London as a consular officer. Other early overseas postings included disbursing officer at the embassy in Manila, Philippines, from 1989 to 1991; chief of special consular services at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo from 1995 to 1998; liaison to the National Security Council for the 50th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit; and from 1999 to 2002, Uyehara was a supervisory general services officer at the embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.

 

Uyehara’s Washington assignments have included being a general services officer in the Bureau of Personnel from 1991 to 1993 and director of the Office of Allowances from 2002 to 2005.

 

In 2006, Uyehara was sent to Kyiv, Ukraine, as management counselor at the U.S. embassy. She was moved to Frankfurt, Germany, in 2008 as director of the Regional Support Center at the U.S. Consulate. In 2010, she was named management counselor for the Department of State at the U.S. Tri-Missions in Vienna, Austria.

 

Her most recent assignment was as executive director of the Bureaus of European and Eurasian Affairs and International Organization Affairs in the Department of State in Washington.

Uyehara’s husband, Michael, is also a Foreign Service office, currently serving in Belgrade, Serbia. They have three sons and two daughters. Uyehara speaks German, French, Ukrainian and Japanese.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (pdf)

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Montenegro

Brown, Sue
ambassador-image

Sue K. Brown, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, was appointed in November 2010 by President Barack Obama to serve as ambassador to Montenegro. She was sworn in on April 27, 2011.

 
A native of Texas, Brown joined the Foreign Service in 1980. Her earlier overseas postings included Indonesia, France, Liberia, Kenya, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire. 
 
She has served as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassies in Asmara, Eritrea and, from 2006 to 2009, in Accra, Ghana. She also served in Ghana as chargé d’affaires. In a cable released by WikiLeaks, she criticized the Ghanaian government’s anti-drug efforts, implying that it concentrated on small-time dealers while lacking “the political will to go after the barons.”
 
In 2009, Brown became office director for southern African affairs in the Bureau of African Affairs at the State Department. She held this post until receiving her ambassador assignment.
 
Brown has five children.
 
Official Biography (State Department)

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Overview

Montenegro was part of the former Yugoslavia at one time. Illyrians originally settled the area, followed by the Greeks, Celts, Byzantines, Romans and the Slavs. The nation was eventually Christianized under Nicholas I and later united with Serbia to fight the Turks of the Ottoman Empire. Nicholas oversaw the expansion of Montenegro’s borders and led it toward independence in 1878. Italy occupied the country during World War II, and Montenegro adopted socialism as part of Yugoslavia during the Cold War. In 1992, Montenegro joined with Serbia as Yugoslavia began to break up, leaving behind a truncated Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. While Serbia became involved in the war in Bosnia, Montenegro remained largely out of the conflict. The Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro became the dominant political force in the country throughout the 1990s. During this time Montenegro became a hotspot for smuggling due to its location on the Adriatic Sea. In 2003, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia renamed itself Serbia and Montenegro. This lasted until June 2006 when Montenegro became completely independent. The United States soon thereafter established diplomatic relations with Montenegro.

 
Montenegro is a member of the United Nations, and a potential candidate for entrance into the European Union. The country presented its official EU application in 2008 and is hoping to gain EU candidate status in 2010. Montenegro is also currently an official candidate for membership in NATO, having been offered a Membership Action Plan by the alliance in 2009.
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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: Montenegro occupies an area slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut, and lies between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania. Its terrain is varied, from the mountainous regions with thick forests to central plains and the Adriatic coast, with a few small islands off the coast. The climate is generally continental, and Mediterranean off the coast.

 
Population: 678,177
 
Religions: Orthodox 74.2%, Muslim 17.7%, Catholic 3.5%, other 3.6%, non-religious 1%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Montenegrin 43%, Serbian 32%, Bosniak 8%, Albanian 5%, other (Croats, Roma) 12%.
 
Languages: Serbian 63.6%, Montenegrin (official) 22%, Bosnian 5.5%, Albanian 5.3%, unspecified 3.7%.
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History

The area now known as Montenegro was originally settled by the Illyrians before the 6th century. Subsequently, the Greeks and Celts formed settlements to enhance trade in the region. The Romans eventually conquered the Illyrian kingdom and divided the territory with the Byzantine Empire.

 
From the 6th to the 7th century, the Slavs settled the region, and Serbs migrated from the Bay of Kotor to the River of Bojana. Much of the population was Christianized during this time and remained so until the fall of the Serbian Realm in 960.
 
In 1042, Stefan Vojislav began an uprising against Byzantine domination. In 1077, Pope Gregory VII recognized Duklja was an independent state, with King Mihailo as its king.
 
Venice started to take control of southern Dalmatia in the 10th century. The Republic of Venice dominated the coast of what is today known as Montenegro from 1420 to 1797. During those four centuries, the area became known as Albania Veneto, or Venetian-Albania-Montenegro.
 
During the 15th century, the Turks started to conquer the Balkans, and many Christian Slavs took refuge in Dalmatia. Unrest between the groups gave rise to the assassination of Danilo by Todor Kadic in 1860. Montenegrins proclaimed Nicholas as his successor, and in the next few years, Nicholas waged an unsuccessful war against Turkey. 
 
By 1875, Montenegro joined with Serbia. The united forces were initially defeated by the Turks, but when Russia routed the Ottoman Empire in 1876, Montenegro gained 1,900 square miles of new territory and gained the port of Bar. On July 13, 1878, Montenegro was recognized as an independent country by the Great Powers of Europe and the Congress of Berlin.
 
Nicholas also oversaw the drafting of the country’s first constitution, and he was elevated to the rank of king in 1910. In the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, Montenegro gained even more territory by splitting Sanjak with Serbia. At the same time, the captured city of Skadar was given up to the new country of Albania. 
 
During World War I, Montenegro suffered great losses. Austro-Hungarian forces invaded Serbia, and Montenegro wasted no time in declaring war against the Central Powers. Montenegrin forces were able to repel a second wave of attacks, and almost succeeded in liberating Sarajevo. But with the third wave of invasions, Montenegrin forces were overrun. Nicholas fled to Italy and then to France, and transferred the government’s functions to Bordeaux. The Allies eventually liberated Montenegro from the Austrians, but the National Assembly of Podgorica accused Nicholas of trying to negotiate a separate peace with the enemy. He was deposed in 1918, and Montenegro joined the Kingdom of Serbia. 
 
During World War II, Italy’s forces occupied Montenegro beginning in 1941. During this time, the Queen of Italy convinced her husband to force Mussolini to create an independent Montenegro. This was against the wishes of the Croats and Albanians, who had designs on Montenegrin territory. Her nephew, Prince Michael of Montenegro, was offered the new crown of Montenegro, but he never accepted it and instead pledged his loyalty to King Peter II of Yugoslavia.
 
As the Second World War continued, a fascist government was formed in Montenegro called the Independent State of Montenegro, and the country suffered a terrible guerilla war when the German army replaced the Italians in September 1943. Germany was eventually ousted by forces led by General Tito, who established Montenegro as one of the six republics of Yugoslavia. 
 
From 1945-1992, Montenegro was part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and Montenegro became more economically stable due to economic development and tourism. In October 1991, war broke throughout Croatia as part of the Croatian War of Independence. On October 1, JNA forces (the Yugoslav People’s Army) from Montenegro advanced to attack and occupy Prevlaka, Konavle, Cavtat and the entire area around Dubrovnik, including the international airport. At the time, Montenegrin officials presented the siege as part of a "War for Peace” that would allow Montenegro to definitively settle its borders with Croatia. The Croatian counterattack finally lifted the siege and liberated the area in mid-1992 after suffering heavy losses, and the United Nations stepped in to supervise the area as the war ended.
 
As Communist Yugoslavia broke apart, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia all seceded from Yugoslavia and declared independence. This left Montenegro still joined with Serbia, but with a new multi-party political system and new leaders that had been swept into power as part of the “anti-bureaucratic revolution.” However, the multi-party system was unfamiliar, and the three main leaders of Montenegro quickly repackaged communist ideas into a new party called the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro. This party has ruled Montenegro ever since. 
 
Popular support led to the April 1992 referendum that led Montenegro to join Serbia in forming the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The United Nations placed an embargo on the FRY in response to Serbian aggression towards Bosnia and the outbreak of warfare in the region. While Montenegro was spared from the fighting that consumed much of the Balkans, the country became a hotspot for smuggling, due to its location on the Adriatic Sea. Soon, much of the country’s economy was supported by the smuggling of gas and cigarettes, both of which suffered huge price hikes. Citizens as well as government officials got caught up in this activity.
 
In 1997, a bitter dispute over presidential election results occurred. Milo Đukanović won in a second-round run-off plagued with irregularities. The political fighting split apart the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro, with one side breaking away to form the Socialist People’s Party of Montenegro, which stayed loyal to Serbian leader Slobodan Milošević.
 
Serbia in 1999 carried out attacks against Kosovo, provoking a military response by NATO. Montenegro was spared from much of this devastation.
 
In 2003, after years of wrangling and outside assistance, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia renamed itself “Serbia and Montenegro.” This lasted until 2006 when a Montenegrin referendum resulted in 55% of votes being cast for independence. Montenegro declared its independence on June 3, 2006.
 
In March 2007 Montenegrin officials apologized for involvement in the 1991 attacks on the Croatian city of Dubrovnik, which caused several hundred civilian deaths and destroyed countless homes, and agreed to pay damages. Some estimates place the value of the damage at around €35 million.
 
In 2008 the Montenegrin government recognized the independence of Kosovo, the small ethnic Albanian region in the territory of southern Serbia. This move strained its relations with former federal partner Serbia and other European countries.
 
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History of U.S. Relations with Montenegro

The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was a conglomeration of six regional republics and two autonomous provinces that was roughly divided on ethnic lines. Following a string of violent conflicts during the 1990s Yugoslavia split into several independent countries, including Serbia and Montenegro,.

The West intervened in the breakup of Yugoslavia relatively early, but lacked the collective will and military force to prevent large-scale warfare. The period of the early Yugoslav warscoincided with the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, as well as the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, thus rendering the Western powers sufficiently distracted. A global recession further reduced the West's desire to intervene in a country some saw as a quagmire without strategic.
 
From 2003 to 2006, Serbia and Montenegro formed the "State Union of Serbia and Montenegro." This union was the successor to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On May 21 2006, Montenegro held a referendum to determine whether or not to end its union with Serbia. The next day, state-certified results showed 55.4% of voters in favor of independence, just above the 55% required by the referendum, and Serbia and Montenegro became separate nations in June 2006.
 
Formal relations between the United States and Montenegro began in August 2006, when the US recognized Montenegro’s independence. Currently, the US maintains an embassy in Podgorica. A variety of U.S. assistance programs have been put into place in Montenegro and are aimed towards improving its economic climate and strengthening its democratic structures. In order to further develop commercial ties between the U.S. and Montenegro, the first American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham Montenegro) was launched on November 19, 2008, and as part of the economic partnership between Montenegro and the United States, the U.S.-Montenegro Business Council was formally opened in Podgorica on December 16, 2008.
 
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Current U.S. Relations with Montenegro

Notable Monenegrin-Americans

Milla Jovovich is a Ukrainian-born American actress and model. During the span of her career, Jovovich has played notable roles in the films The Fifth Element (1997), Zoolander (2001), Resident Evil (2002), Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), and Resident Evil: Extinction (2007). Her paternal great-grandfather, Bogić Camić Jovović, was an officer in the guard of King Nicholas I of Montenegro.
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Edina Lekovic is the Communications Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. She has made many appearances in the media including and has also written for several leading newspapers. Lekovic’s parents came from Montenegro and she identifies herself as a European Muslim
 
Nikola Petanović (1892-1932) was an American Montenegrin emigrant, philosopher, writer, political publicist and fighter for Montenegro's sovereignty and independence. Born in the village of Podgor in Crmnica, Princedom of Montenegro, he moved to the United States  in 1912. Upon hearing about the 1918 unification of Montenegro with the Kingdom of Serbia, Petanović worried that Montenegro's sovereignty was being unjustly extinguished and began to advocate for Montenegrin sovereignty in the U.S. His work failed to receive widespread attention until after his death.
 
There are several US aid programs in place to help Montenegro improve its economy and democracy. Some of them are designed to stimulate local economic growth and business development, as well as strengthen the law.
 
In May 1, 2007, President Vujanovic met with US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice during a visit to Washington, DC. Speaker of the Parliament Ranko Krivokapic visited Washington in November 2007 and met with Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives.
 
The Montenegrin military also established a partnership with the Maine Army National Guard and efforts are underway to broaden this relationship to include cooperation in the civilian sector.
 
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Where Does the Money Flow

In 2009, the and the United States’ leading export to Montenegro were new and used passenger cars ($3.3 million) and drilling/oilfield equipment ($2.3 million). Other major exports included unmanufactured agricultural goods ($2 million), medicinal equipment ($1.3 million), generators and accessories ($1.1 million), plastic materials ($1.1 million), and household appliances ($1.1 million).

 
US imports from Montenegro were led by machine tools, metalworking, molding and rolling ($10.5 million), and industrial machinery classified as ‘other’ ($3.2 million). Other significant imports included finished metal ($1.3 million) and non-farm tractors ($.4 million).
 
The US gave $8.5 million in aid to Montenegro in 2009. The budget allotted the most funds to Private Sector Competitiveness ($4.2 million), Civil Society ($1.8 million), and Rule of Law and Human Rights ($1 million). 
 
The 2010 budget estimate increased funding to $10.6 million. 
 
The 2011budget request will give $11.3 million to Montenegro, and the majority of aid will be dedicated to fighting corruption: Stabilization Operations and Security Sector Reform ($1.8 million), Good Governance ($1.7 million), and Rule of Law and Human Rights ($1.6 million).
 
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Controversies

Montenegro Accused of Caving to US Pressure on Kosovo

In October 2008 the government of Montenegro recognized the independence of Kosovo, a former republic within Serbia, prompting thousands of pro-Serbian Montenegrins to take to the streets in protest. Police had to fire tear gas at the protesters who pelted state buildings and fired flares. Chanting “Treason! Treason!” and “Kosovo is Serbia!” the protesters condemned the decision to recognize the former Serbian province which declared independence in February 2008.
 
Earlier, some 10,000 protesters demanded that Montenegro’s pro-Western government withdraw recognition of Kosovo, or face attempts to topple it “by unparliamentary means.” Others demanded a referendum on Kosovo’s recognition. About 35% of Montenegro’s population of 650,000 identify themselves as Serbs.
 
After Montenegro and Macedonia recognized Kosovo, Serbia’s government expelled the two neighboring countries’ ambassadors and threatened additional retaliatory measures. Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic of Montenegro accused Serbia of wanting to continue to influence his country’s policies. Belgrade “is forgetting that we are now a sovereign country which is making the decisions in its own interest,” Djukanovic said. He denied Montenegro had been pressured by the United States and others to recognize Kosovo.
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Human Rights

According to the U.S. State Department, Montenegro’s government has been accused of “allowing police mistreatment of suspects in detention, substandard prison conditions, abusive and arbitrary arrests, police impunity, lengthy pretrial detention, delayed and inefficient trials, widespread perception of corruption in law enforcement agencies and the judiciary, physical assaults on journalists, excessive monetary judgments against the media for slander, denial of public and press access to information, mistreatment and discrimination against the large number of refugees and internally displaced persons, sectarian intolerance and homophobia, discrimination against women, trafficking in persons, and discrimination against ethnic minorities,” .

 
Police at times beat suspects during arrests, or while suspects were detained for questioning. According to media reports, citizens pressed a number of charges against law enforcement officers for abuse against citizens during their arrest or when they were in detention.
 
The government investigated police abuses, but criminal charges and convictions against police were rare. Police corruption was a problem; the small, close-knit society discouraged the reporting of corruption and facilitated criminals’ access to law enforcement officers.
 
Insufficient cooperation between police and prosecutors, a large backlog of cases, frequently primitive courtroom facilities, and judicial corruption each has remained a problem. Many cases take years to resolve; however, courts have made progress in reducing the backlogs of civil and criminal cases.
 
The law requires the National Security Agency (NSA) to obtain court authorization for a wiretap. But some observers believed that police selectively used wiretapping and surveillance against opposition parties and other groups without court authorization. Many individuals and organizations operated on the assumption that they were, or could be, under surveillance.
 
There were some reports that some elements in society continued to discriminate against some religious communities. Tensions continued between the canonically unrecognized Montenegrin Orthodox Church and the Serbian Orthodox Church, including over church property.
 
The World Bank’s worldwide governance indicators reflect that corruption was a serious problem. There were widespread allegations of corruption in the privatization of state assets. Observers noted that a lack of transparency prevented citizens from judging the validity of those allegations.
 
Violence and discrimination against women, child abuse, trafficking in persons, and discrimination against ethnic minorities were problems. Rape, including spousal rape, is illegal. But enforcement remained a significant problem. Trafficking in women for sexual exploitation was a problem. Sexual harassment was a problem. It was tolerated by society at large. Traditional patriarchal ideas of gender, which maintained that women should be subservient to male members of their families, persisted and resulted in continued discrimination against women in the home.
 
Child marriage was a problem, particularly among Roma. In the Roma community, boys and girls generally married at an early age, with girls marrying somewhat earlier than boys. The problem was generally ignored by the government.
 
Societal discrimination against ethnic minorities was a problem. Prejudice against Roma was widespread, and local authorities often ignored or tacitly condoned their intimidation or mistreatment.
Society generally showed antipathy towards homosexuals, leading most homosexuals to conceal their identity. Violence against homosexuals was rare and not condoned by the government.
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

Note: The United States recognized the Republic of Montenegro on Jun 13, 2006 and established relations with it on Aug. 15. The US Consulate in Podgorica became an embassy Oct 5, 2006, with Arlene Ferrill as Charge d’Affaires ad interim.

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Montenegro's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Darmanovic, Srdjan

Montenegro’s ambassador to the United States since November 2010, Srdjan Darmanovic knows a thing or two about strategy, both the diplomatic kind and that used on a chess board.

 
Born in 1961, Darmanovic served in the former Yugoslavia’s federal parliament from 1992-1996.
 
In 1997, he founded and became president of the Centre for Democracy and Human Rights, a nongovernmental organization and think tank based in Podgorica, Montenegro. He remained with the center until accepting his ambassador post in the U.S.
 
Concurrently, he was an international research group member for the Aspen Institute (1997-1998), as well as an associate professor of comparative politics at the University of Montenegro and the first dean of the university’s faculty of political science (2003-2010).
 
He testified twice before the Helsinki Commission of the U.S. Congress (1998, 2000), and has been a guest lecturer at The Johns Hopkins University, as well as at universities in Rome, Hamburg and Belgrade, where he was a member of the political science faculty.
 
Darmanovic has been a member of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe since 2005, working on the commission’s Council for Democratic Elections and Sub-Committee for Democratic Institutions.
 
He is the author of two books—Malformed Democracy: the Drama of Yugoslav Post-Communism (1993) and Real-Socialism: Anatomy of a Collapse (1996). Darmanovic also has co-authored several books and written articles in publications such as the Washington, DC-based Journal of Democracy and the East European Constitutional Review in New York City and Budapest.
 
Darmanovic is an international chess master with a rating of 2,282. He is ranked 9,861th in the world and 39th in Monenegro, according to the World Chess Federation.
 
Biography (Washington Diplomat)
FIDE Chess Profile (World Chess Federation)

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Montenegro's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.

Montenegro’s Embassy in the US

Montenegrin Embassy
1610 New Hampshire Avenue N.W.
Washington D.C. 20009
1-202-234-6108
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U.S. Ambassador to Montenegro

Uyehara, Margaret
ambassador-image

 

President Barack Obama nominated Margaret Ann Uyehara to be the U.S. ambassador to Montenegro on July 9, 2014. It would be the first ambassadorial posting for Uyehara, a career member of the Foreign Service.

 

Uyehara is from Berea, Ohio, and attended Kalamazoo College in Michigan, graduating in 1981 with a B.A. in political science.

 

Her first State Department posting was as a general services officer in the U.S. Embassy in Mali in 1983. In 1985, she was sent to the embassy in London as a consular officer. Other early overseas postings included disbursing officer at the embassy in Manila, Philippines, from 1989 to 1991; chief of special consular services at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo from 1995 to 1998; liaison to the National Security Council for the 50th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit; and from 1999 to 2002, Uyehara was a supervisory general services officer at the embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.

 

Uyehara’s Washington assignments have included being a general services officer in the Bureau of Personnel from 1991 to 1993 and director of the Office of Allowances from 2002 to 2005.

 

In 2006, Uyehara was sent to Kyiv, Ukraine, as management counselor at the U.S. embassy. She was moved to Frankfurt, Germany, in 2008 as director of the Regional Support Center at the U.S. Consulate. In 2010, she was named management counselor for the Department of State at the U.S. Tri-Missions in Vienna, Austria.

 

Her most recent assignment was as executive director of the Bureaus of European and Eurasian Affairs and International Organization Affairs in the Department of State in Washington.

Uyehara’s husband, Michael, is also a Foreign Service office, currently serving in Belgrade, Serbia. They have three sons and two daughters. Uyehara speaks German, French, Ukrainian and Japanese.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (pdf)

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Montenegro

Brown, Sue
ambassador-image

Sue K. Brown, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, was appointed in November 2010 by President Barack Obama to serve as ambassador to Montenegro. She was sworn in on April 27, 2011.

 
A native of Texas, Brown joined the Foreign Service in 1980. Her earlier overseas postings included Indonesia, France, Liberia, Kenya, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire. 
 
She has served as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassies in Asmara, Eritrea and, from 2006 to 2009, in Accra, Ghana. She also served in Ghana as chargé d’affaires. In a cable released by WikiLeaks, she criticized the Ghanaian government’s anti-drug efforts, implying that it concentrated on small-time dealers while lacking “the political will to go after the barons.”
 
In 2009, Brown became office director for southern African affairs in the Bureau of African Affairs at the State Department. She held this post until receiving her ambassador assignment.
 
Brown has five children.
 
Official Biography (State Department)

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