Kosovan opposition MPs release tear gas to stop vote on demarcation deal with Montenegro

Kosovan opposition MPs release tear gas to stop vote on demarcation deal with Montenegro
By bne IntelliNews March 21, 2018

MPs from Kosovan opposition party Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) released tear gas in the parliament on March 21 with the aim of stopping the vote on the ratification of a crucial border demarcation deal with Montenegro.

Such incidents were common in the past when the parliament tried to vote on the border demarcation deal, which is vehemently opposed by some parties, particularly Vetevendosje. Kosovo needs to ratify the deal, which was signed by Kosovo and Montenegro in August 2015, to get visa free travel to the EU for its citizens.

The session on ratification of the deal started March 20, when Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj urged MPs to vote, saying that a vote for the demarcation deal “is a vote for the state of Kosovo, for the country's Euro-Atlantic perspective and for freedom of movement.”

However, Vetevendosje fears that Kosovo will lose land with the treaty. Among the other parties in the parliament, Serbian List has no interest in the topic of demarcation of the border between Kosovo and Montenegro, and has complained of pressure from the international community to vote for the deal.

Live footage from March 21 shows MPs hastily exiting the chamber as smoke billows out, apparently from multiple tear gas bombs. 

After the tear gas was released, the session was put on hold until the smoke has cleared, broadcaster RTK said. Parliament speaker Kadri Veseli said that the Kosovan parliament will ratify the deal today

US Ambassador to Kosovo Greg Delawie also said following the incident that the vote will still take place during the course of the day. “I'll have several meetings at the embassy but will be soon back. I will not give up. I believe that neither will the deputies give up. The demarcation must be passed," the ambassador was cited by RTK.

 

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