Bosnia, Montenegro End Dispute Over Borders

15 May 15
Bosnia, Montenegro End Dispute Over Borders

Relations between the two neighbours have started returning to normal after Bosnia’s parliament rejected a resolution claiming a slice of land in Montenegro around the village of Sutorina.

Elvira M. Jukic, Dusica Tomovic
Sarajevo, Podgorica

Screenshot from Google Maps. Sutorina area.

Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic on Thursday signed the long-delayed appointment of a new ambassador to Bosnia – as relations between the two Balkan countries started returning to normal after a months-long border dispute.

Tensions eased after the Bosnian parliament on Wednesday rejected a proposed resolution that would have blocked a draft border agreement and restated Bosnia’s claim to a slice of Montenegro near the village of Sutorina.

The Montenegrin government welcomed the decision as testimony of Bosnia’s commitment to good relations between the two countries.

“Vujanovic emphasized the need for further improvement of relations between the two countries based on the development of good neighbourly cooperation and strengthening stability in the region,” Vujanovic’s office said on Thursday.

Bosnia and Montenegro said in separate statements that the two countries would soon sign the border agreement, as the demarcation process was completed last year and both governments have already approved the document.

Foreign ministries of both countries told Balkan Insight that their ambassadors will soon assume their posts. For the past few months, while the two countries were locked into this border dispute, Vujanovic blocked confirmation of the new Montenegrin ambassador to Sarajevo, Milan Lakic, while Bosnia’s Foreign Ministry pulled their ambassador, Djordje Latinovic, out of Podgorica.

The dispute erupted in November 2014 when Denis Becirovic, an MP from Bosnia’s opposition Social Democratic Party, SDP, proposed a resolution calling for Bosnia’s parliament to reject the prepared draft border agreement with Montenegro and establish a commission that would consult with local and international experts on the Sutorina area.

Some Bosnian officials and intellectuals maintain that the area was “illegally” grabbed by Montenegro in 1945 – and should have been returned to Bosnia since the subsequent border changes were never ratified.

Others, however, said the issue was already resolved by the Badinter Committee, which handled the legal questions deriving from the breakup of former Yugoslavia – and which ruled in 1991 that the internal borders of the former Yugoslav republics should not be changed.

These borders were also confirmed by the 1995 Dayton Peace Accord, which ended the 1992-5 war in Bosnia, as well by as Bosnia’s new constitution.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)