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news 01 Sep 16

Kosovo Delays MPs' Vote on Border Demarcation

Kosovo has postponed the vote in parliament on ratification of the controversial border agreement with Montenegro - allowing protesters massed outside parliament to claim a victory.

Die Morina
BIRN
Pristina
A large crowd of protesters massed at Adem Jashari square in front of the MPs' entrance to the parliament building. Photo: BIRN/Valerie Hopkins.

“Today there are no circumstances to vote on and ratify the agreement on [border] demarcation with Montenegro,” Kosovo Prime Minister Isa Mustafa said on Thursday when addressing MPs, adding that this did not mean the government had withdrawn the agreement.

MPs in the country were due to vote on the controversial border agreement on Thursday. The parliamentary session started two hours later than planned, however, amid high tension both outside and inside the parliament.

While MPs were entering the parliamentary hall, two MPs from the opposition Vetevendosje party - the bitterest opponent of the agreement - were detained.

Donika Kadaj-Bujupi was detained after parliamentary security found she was carrying a suspicious spray when they checked her at the entrance to the hall, police stated. She was taken to the police station for questioning.

The other arrested MP was Aida Derguti, who is also the vice president of the parliament. Authorities did not give any details about the reason for her detention.

Meanwhile, a large crowd of protesters massed at Adem Jashari square in front of the MPs' entrance to the parliament building, voicing opposition to the border demarcation agreement through chants.

Before the outdoor protest and the parliamentary session started, police surrounded major institutions, crossroads and building in Pristina.

...

On a raid in the Dardania neighbourhood of Pristina, police said they found 50 bags containing Molotov cocktails and stones. They did not give any additional details.

The voting on border demarcation was the sixth item on Thursday’s agenda, so MPs first discussed the latest events, including the security situation and wiretapped calls by state officials published in recent weeks.

The crowd of protesters gathered outside parliament to express their opposition to the agreement broke into celebration on hearing the news of the delay, declaring it a victory for their cause.

Opposition parties have long denounced the planned agreement, claiming it robs the country of thousands of hectares of land.

However, both the US and the EU have urged the government to ratify the deal, reminding the government that continued progress towards European and Atlantic integration depends in part on the speedy resolution of border issues with neighbours.

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