The Montenegrin Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration (MVPEI) on Wednesday reported that the country's institutions, primarily parliament, would decide to ratify its membership to NATO and that it was not up to any third party to take a stance on this issue.

That was Montenegro's response to a statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry and carried by the Russian state news agency, Tass, in which Russia insists that Montenegro's accession to the Alliance should be subject to referendum.

A spokeswoman in the Russian foreign ministry Maria Zakharova said that the situation in Montenegro was difficult. This is an internal political crisis accompanied by protests. That means that deep divisions still exist in Montenegrin society, above all, with regard to the question of the country joining NATO, she said.

Moscow believes that Montenegro's citizens should go to referendum and as Zahkrova said, this would be a demonstration of democracy.

Officials in Podgorica however, think otherwise."Montenegro's institutions, above all, parliament, will decide on membership to NATO and in that regard it is not up to third parties to express their stance on how institutions need to react to internal issues," the Montenegrin ministry said.

Montenegro's Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic on Monday said that there was no legal obligation or political need to call a referendum on the country's accession to NATO and that that decision was in the remit of parliament.

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