27 Mar 15
Montenegro Protests Over Croatia’s Adriatic Oil Probes
Montenegro has accused Croatia of jeopardizing an earlier border agreement between the two countries by allowing oil and gas exploration in the disputed border area near Prevlaka.
Montenegro’s Foreign Minister, Igor Luksic, on Thursday said his government had sent four protest notes to Croatia over a planned oil and gas probe in the waters of the disputed Prevlaka area, south of Dubrovnik.
In an address to parliament, Luksic said that Croatia had violated 2002 border protocol between the two countries by which the Prevlaka peninsula remained in Croatia while Montenegro won some rights over the surrounding waters.
Montenegro has also sent a diplomatic note to the UN Division for Oceans and the Law of the Sea, complaining about Croatia’s announced start oil exploration in the Adriatic.
Luksic said Montenegrin diplomats has been tasked with alerting companies that have applied for a Croatian tender that they may be violating the international agreement. Protest notes have been sent to all countries from which these companies come.
“Our diplomats have informed the companies of the legal consequences of closing the deal with Croatia. On several occasions we discussed [it] with representatives of those countries in Montenegro at the highest level,” the minister explained.
Both Montenegro and Croatia have invited public bids for the exploration of oil and gas reserves in the Adratic Sea. Several foreign companies have expressed interest.
Last week, Croatia postponed signing a deal because of concerns raised by Montenegro, Italy and Slovenia.
Montenegro’s dispute with Croatia over the Prevlaka peninsula, south of Dubrovnik, dates back to the collapse of the former Yugoslavia.
In 2008, both countries agreed to let the International Court of Justice in The Hague decide the issue, but a comprehensive settlement has yet to be reached.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)