07 Nov 14
Montenegro Govt Accused of ‘Betraying’ Prevlaka
A Montenegrin opposition leader has accused the government of surrendering a potentially energy-rich part of the Adriatic Sea to neighbouring Croatia – and has urged people to protest.
Montenegrin opposition leader Nebojsa Medojevic on Thursday accused the government of handing over vital territorial waters to Croatia and called on “democratic forces” in the country to hold a protest rally.
Medojevic, head of the Movement for Change, did not specify when the anti-government rally would be held, but said his party would prove that the government had conspired against the interests of its own country.
The fury centres on a long-standing dispute with Croatia over the areas in the Adriatic sea, near the Prevlaka peninsula, which both countries claim and which are potentially interesting in terms of oil and gas exploitation.
“Peaceful protests are the legitimate form of democratic struggle and the last line of defence for Prevlaka,” Medojevic said dramatically on Thursday.
Both Montenegro and Croatiare are offering public bids for the exploration of oil and gas finds in the Adratic, and several foreign companies have expressed interest.
Last week, the government in Podgorica issued a new decision on the exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the Montenegrin part of the Adriatic.
However, the Croatian Prime Minister, Zoran Milanovic, accused Podgorica of claiming a potentially oil and gas rich part of the Adratic that he says belongs to Croatia.
In response to Milanovic, the Montenegrin government stated that it sought only to protect its interests in the maritime area.
Citing previous studies, Medojovic maintained that the disputed part of the Adriatic contained huge oil and gas reserves, potentially worth billions of euros.
“Any attempt by politicians to put this wealth in his own pocket may be qualified as an act of treason,” Medojevic said.
The dispute with Croatia over the Prevlaka peninsula, south of Dubrovnik, dates back to the collapse of the former Yugoslavia.
In 2002, an interim solution was agreed under which the Prevlaka peninsula remained Croatian territory while Montenegro was given some rights over the surrounding waters.
In 2008, both countries agreed to let the International Court of Justice in The Hague decide on the issue, but a comprehensive settlement has yet to be reached.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)