Despite Tear Gas and Obstructions, Kosovo Parliament Ratified Agreement on Demarcation

By , 23 Mar 2018, 10:20 AM Politics
Kosovo Parliament Kosovo Parliament RTK

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The Kosovo Parliament has ratified the Agreement on demarcation with Montenegro - 80 delegates were in favor, and 11 against. Therefore, the Agreement was approved three years after the signing in Vienna. After approval of this agreement, Kosovo hopes to get visa liberalization.

The acceptance of the Agreement was welcomed by the prime minister and president of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj and Hasim Tachi.

Haradinaj said that now he expects Kosovo will get visa liberalization which is very important to its citizens. Tachi said that this agreement is very significant for the Europe-Atlantic path for Kosovo which creates an opportunity for resolving many important issues for Kosovo.

British Ambassador in Montenegro Alison Kemp also welcomed the acceptance of the agreement on border demarcation.

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Chief of Diplomacy in the EU Federika Mogerini also welcomed the approval of the agreement.

She stated that this is good news for Pristina and Kosovo.

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But unfortunately, not all ran smoothly. The vote was marked with tear gas, profanities, and arrests. The delegates from Self-orientation party threw tear gas four times, forcing the police had to take action. The delegates were later arrested and released after the interrogations.

Because of the tear gas, eight delegates from the Self-orientation party were suspended.

Ambassador of USA in Pristina Greg Delawie said that he is disappointed with the events in Parliament. He invited everyone to normalize the situation and to vote in favor of the demarcation. He also hoped to see the delegates from Srpska list at the session, because this is an important issue concerning the future of all citizens in Kosovo.

There was a great fuss in the Parliament today between many journalists, police officers, and delegates. Security professionals also had to check why the detectors didn't turn on when the tear gas was brought into the hall by the delegates because the entrance of the Kosovo Parliament had special control checks.

Delegates of the Self-orientation party were searched in detail, and they even had to take off their shoes to prevent any more tear gas from being thrown. The leader of the oppositional Self-orientation party Aljbin Kurti was also searched in detail.

Parliament was so turbulent that Kadri Veselji reacted to the tear gas by using profanities. A delegate from the Self-orientation party Aljbuljena Hadziu said Veselji does not deserve to lead the Parliament and suggested he be dismissed after the inappropriate behavior and words.

The president of Kosovo Hasim Tachi said that despite the obstructions, the agreement must be approved.

During the intermission, Aljbuljena Hadziu said that it is good that the session has been interrupted because “it is very important that we are up to the task in defending the territory" and suggested that this party, with its activities, saved the rest of the delegates from “the betrayal” and it will continue to act against the ratification on demarcation. Hadziu was also arrested today but released shortly. She said that she would not give up on the intention to prevent the approval of this document which only harms Kosovo as a state.

Chief of the delegates club from the oppositional Democratic alliance of Kosovo DSK, Avdulah Hoti, said that this party is determined to end the demarcation issue and stated that all the delegates from this party, 27 in total, will vote in favor of the demarcation.

“We will not surrender on their threats," said Hoti.

The delegate from the Democratic League of Kosovo, Ramiz Keljmendi, announced that he would be the crucial 80th vote if necessary for the agreement on demarcation to be approved.

After the tear gas was thrown, the delegate from the Alternative party, Ijlir Deda, expressed his regret because it will do only harm to the Self-orientation party.

“Don’t mind the speculations. I feel sorry that the Self-orientation party is going backwards and uses inefficient methods which only do them harm, instead of acting like professionals," he said.

Delegates from the other parties disapproved of the tear gas activations in parliament, but they felt confident that the session will proceed.

As the delegates from the ruling parties stated at the moment when the 80th vote was provided by the arrival of the delegate from Goranska community Adem Hodza, more tear gas was activated.

Hodza, who is a member of Srpska list, previously said he would vote in favor of demarcation if it will depend only upon his vote which was the case.

Delavi: Kosovo is no place for violence

Ambassador of the United States of America in Kosovo, Greg Delawie, criticized the tear gas in Parliament. 

He said that violence as a political means is not allowed in Kosovo and invited all the delegates to vote on the Draft of the agreement on the demarcation with Montenegro.

Before the commencement of the session, the president of Kosovo parliament Kadri Veselji spoke with the ambassadors from countries in the European Union accredited in Kosovo and the chief of the EU office Natalija Apostolova on ratifying the agreement on demarcation.

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PHOTO: RTK

After the meeting, Veselji said that the boundary line for demarcation between Kosovo and Montenegro would be finalized today so that the citizens’ perspectives concerning the liberalization of visa and European integrations are not going to be obstructed.

“We will not stop due to personal or political attitudes by individuals, but we will only go forward," said Veselji.

These days, the considerable pressure from the international community onto the government in Kosovo and Parliament is noticeable due to this issue - not only because of Kosovo but also Montenegro which is in the negotiation process and it is essential that the boundary issue is resolved.

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The prime minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj said that Kosovo and Montenegro both have interests to be better neighbors, to have good relations and collaboration.

80 votes out of 120 were needed for approval of the ratification and besides the ruling coalition votes, in favor votes were provided by the oppositional Democratic alliance of Kosovo DSK.

The ratification of the agreement is important for Kosovo because it is one of the last conditions given by the European Committee for abolishing the visa regime to Kosovo.

Citizens in Kosovo are the only ones in the Western Balkans who are still waiting in line for a visa, a process which is becoming more frustrating.

The second and last condition for visa liberalization is tangible results in the battle against corruption among the state’s highly ranked officials.

 Text by M.Dusevic, on March 22nd, 2018, read more at CdM

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