Milo Djukanovic was officially sworn in on Sunday as Montenegrin president and stressed that in stead of becoming Serbia's province, Montenegro had become economically the most developed country in western Balkans.
At the inauguration ceremony, which was broadcast live, Djukanovic promised he would be active and invest efforts in helping overcome divisions in Montenegro on a healthy platform of preservation and affirmation of the Montenegrin state and its national interests.
Djukanovic has dominated politics in the former Yugoslav republic for nearly 25 years. He was Prime Minister during a tense October 2016 parliamentary election when authorities said they thwarted a pro-Russian coup attempt designed to prevent the country from joining NATO.
Two Russian citizens are being tried in absentia for the plot, which prosecutors said included a plan to assassinate Djukanovic.
The Kremlin has denied any involvement.
In 2006, Djukanovic led Montenegro to independence from Serbia, which also hopes to became an EU member within the next seven years.