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News 11 May 17

Opposition Urges Montenegro to Revoke Kosovo Recognition

Opposition leader urges Montenegro's government to  withdraw recognition of Kosovo's independence after Pristina again failed to ratify a long-awaited border agreement.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica
Some opposition and ruling party MPs in Pristina claimed Montenegro deprives Kosovo of 8,000 hectares of land in the border area. Photo: BIRN.

One of the main opposition leaders in Montenegro, Nebojsa Medojevic, called on the government to protect the border with Kosovo and withdraw recognition of Kosovo's independence - after Kosovo again delayed a vote in its parliament on the vexed frontier demarcation deal.

The leader of the pro-Russian Democratic Front on Wednesday said Montenegro should withdraw recognition of Kosovo’s independence in order to protect its national interests and the country’s dignity.

The reaction came after the Isa Mustafa's government in Kosovo was defeated on Wednesday after MPs backed an opposition motion of no-confidence.

The Kosovo opposition has been demanding elections for two years, mainly because of the controversial agreements that the government signed in Brussels in 2015 on border demarcation with Montenegro - that is still to be voted on in parliament - and on establishing an autonomous Association of Serb-majority Municipalities.

“This expected decision of the Kosovo parliament is the newest evidence of the project of a Greater Albania focused on part of the territory of Montenegro and shows Kosovo does not recognise the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state of Montenegro.

"The Montenegrin government should withdraw its ambassador from Pristina and the Kosovo Ambassador in Montenegro should be declared persona non grata," Medojevic said.

The Front, composed of several parties with different stances on NATO and Russia, has pledged that if it wins the next elections, it will revoke the sanctions imposed by Montenegro on Russia over the annexation of Crimea, and will also revoke recognition of Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

Montenegro recognised Kosovo’s independence in 2008, much to the anger of Serbia, and of the Serbian community in Montenegro.

Serbia still maintains that Kosovo is a province of Serbia although the two countries have agreed to "normalise" relations in the interests of EU integration.

“The sovereignty of Montenegro and its territorial integrity is the supreme value that cannot be the subject of daily political trade-offs," Medojevic said.

Kosovo and Montenegro established diplomatic relations in 2010 but Montenegro still has only a charge d’affaires in Pristina, not an ambassador.

Recognition of the existence of a Montenegrin community in Kosovo has been one of the conditions set by the Montenegro before it will send an ambassador. Kosovo's small Montenegrin community is seeking constitutional recognition and a share of the allocated seats for minorities in the Kosovo parliament.

The government in Pristina has been under strong international pressure to complete the border deal with Montenegro. The EU says it cannot proceed with visa liberalisation for Kosovo - an importance issue for the country - until the border issue is laid to rest.



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