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news 01 Jul 16

Kosovo Opposition MPs Hold Protest at Border Village

Kosovo opposition MPs visited a border village close to Montenegro on Friday as the controversy over the border demarcation deal with Montenegro refuses to go away.

Shkodran Nikci
BIRN
Pristina
Photo: BIRN.

Kosovo opposition MPs on Friday visited Kuqishte, a village on the border with Montenegro, that is reportedly affected by the controversial demarcation deal between the two countries.

Pal Lekaj, head of the opposition Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, caucus, insisted that opposition members of parliament will not agree to the deal signed by the two governments in 2015.

“We will not be the subject of any pressure and we call on government coalition MPs to do the same because state borders do not belong only to one party,” Lekaj said.

Prime Minister Isa Mustafa on Friday challenged the opposition parties to provide proof that Kosovo had given land away to Montenegro.

“Opponents of demarcation should tell us who the owners of the lands that they claim have lost [land through the demarcation deal] are,” Mustafa said on his Facebook page.

“No citizen has proved so far that he has lost a square meter of his land,” Mustafa added.

Friday’s visit to Kuqishte was the second on the border with Montenegro within a week by opposition MPs.

On Monday, a group of opposition Vetevendosje MPs set the Albanian flag and a plaque reading "Republic of Kosovo" eight kilometers inside the territory of Montenegro, in an area they claim was stripped from Kosovo in the process of demarcation with Montenegro.

One day later, Montenegro interior ministry said the Montenegrin prosecution would react, along with the foreign ministry, to any violations of the state border involving Kosovo politicians planting the Albanian flag on Montenegrin territory.

Kosovo's Foreign Ministry on Thursday said it received a protest note from Montenegro.

The agreement on the state border between Montenegro and Kosovo was signed in August 2015 in Vienna under the auspices of the Western Balkans process, after three years of negotiations with the two border commissions.

Parliament in Montenegro ratified the agreement last December and said it expected Kosovo to do the same.

The Kosovo opposition parties have rejected the border agreement, however, claiming that the country stands to lose more than 8,000 hectares of land. Opposition parties vowed to continue to "defend the territory of Kosovo."

Following numerous opposition protests in Pristina, the US State Department in December said that following a review of maps from the 1940s to the present, including those used by the commission demarcating the border, the recently-delineated border closely aligns with the border as defined by the former Yugoslav state's 1974 Constitution.

In March, an ad-hoc international commission sent by former President Atifete Jahjaga assessed that there were no "violations in the Kosovo-Montenegro demarcation process and that the process adheres to international standards".

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