feature 11 Aug 16

Montenegro Border Villagers Fear ‘Trade-off’ With Kosovo

Montenegrin villagers living near the disputed border with Kosovo fear their government may sacrifice their interests when striking a final deal on the frontier with Pristina.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica
The border between Kosovo and Montenegro. Photo: BIRN.

“I would not advise you to go down there, it’s not safe,” the Montenegrin police officer said, standing on the 1,849-metre-high mountain pass at Cakor that runs down from Montenegro into Kosovo.

Standing there, nothing can be seen for miles except meadows and a few katuns, summer mountain huts used by shepherds.

After passing Velika, the last village on the way to Cakor, it takes around 20 minutes’ drive through meadows and pine woods to reach the mountain. The peak is not accessible by car and it takes several hours’ walk to get to the top.

An eerily empty road descends from Mt Cakor through the Rugova gorge and ends up in Pec/Peje, a city in western Kosovo.

Police patrols might well be the only people you meet on the 36km-long road that leads from Velika to Peje.

The officer, one of four border policemen patrolling along the border that day, explained that Montenegrin territory extends to the pyramids, border marks set by international KFOR peacekeepers following the NATO air strikes in 1999.  

“That is the border between Kosovo and Montenegro, although there is no official border crossing,” he said. “You came, you’ve been there and there’s no need to go further down the mountain,” the officer insisted.

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