Kosovo-Montenegro Border Talks Stir Suspicions

03 Jul 15

Kosovo-Montenegro Border Talks Stir Suspicions

Parliamentarians in both Kosovo and Montenegro are unhappy with the behind-closed-doors negotiations on their border – and each government is being accused of giving too much away.

Una Hajdari, Dusica Tomovic

Pristina, Podgorica

Kosovo parliamentarians have accused their government of not being transparent in its negotiations with Montenegro over the northwestern border – and even of handing over territory.

“We have a problem with the government commission not telling us what is going on. We don’t know how the Kosovo side is presenting the case, and we also don’t know what the Montenegrin side wants,” Besa Gaxherri, an MP in Kosovo, said.

“We want more transparency from the government commission that has been tasked with the duty of negotiating for the side of Kosovo,” he said.

Kosovo formed a State Commission for Marking and Maintaining the Border in 2012 to analyze “the cadastral, topographic and ownership documents for marking the boundary between the Republic of Kosovo and Montenegro”.

The Kosovo parliament adopted a resolution on the issue last week. This urged the government to “defend the borders decided on in the Yugoslav constitution of 1974.” It also said the assembly wanted to be notified “at each stage of the process”.

The authorities in Montenegro also face criticism from their own country over the border talks.

Pro-Serbian opposition parties have accused Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic and President Filip Vujanovic of reach a secret deal with the Kosovars on the border.

The opposition Democratic People’s Party said the resolution adopted in the Kosovo parliament was an attack on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Montenegro, demanding that the government condemn it.

“Otherwise, the assumption that the border project is being implemented with the tacit approval and direct participation of the current Montenegrin regime will turn out tobe completely accurate,” the party said.

Villagers on the Kosovo side of the border have been complaining for weeks that the border is being moved. They say Montenegro has moved the border inwards by as much as eight kilometers at certain points, claiming that they risk losing their land.

At the debate on the resolution last week in the Kosovo parliament, some MPs accused Kosovo’s top diplomat Hashim Thaci of handing over territory.

Nationalist opposition MP Albin Kurti said: “We hope he does not end up signing an agreement between closed doors. We want to see the transcripts of the many meetings held on the topic so far.”

Kosovo has already completed a border demarcation process with Macedonia and Albania.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)