28 June 2006 Lauding the non-violent and democratic process that gained Montenegro its independence from Serbia only five weeks ago, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed the United Nations’ 192nd Member, as its flag, a golden double eagle on a red field, was raised at the world organization’s Headquarters in New York.
“The people of Montenegro demonstrated that adherence to democratic values and the rule of law offer the most effective way to achieve political goals,” Mr. Annan said at the ceremony that followed the country’s admission through a decision of the General Assembly.
“And they showed that even the most difficult and sensitive problems can be resolved peacefully. These are especially important messages given the violent past in the Balkan region,” he added, evoking the ethnic bloodshed that accompanied the break-up of much of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.
The flag-raising ceremony took place minutes after the Montenegrin delegation had been escorted by UN protocol officers to its seats in the General Assembly – next to Mongolia and behind Madagascar.
Assembly President Jan Eliasson expressed confidence that the country would work for strong regional cooperation in the Western Balkans, promoting stability in the area.
For his part, Montenegro’s President, Filip Vujanovic said he and his countrymen realized that with the honour of being an independent Member of the United Nations came great responsibilities.
Last week, the Security Council issued a formal presidential statement recommending that the General Assembly admit the country, which held a referendum on 21 May to become independent from Serbia.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia, also parts of the former Yugoslavia, joined the UN in May, 1992. Approximately one year later, in April of 1993, the General Assembly decided to admit as a Member of the UN “the State being provisionally referred to for all purposes within the United Nations as ‘The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’ pending settlement of the difference that had arisen over its name.”