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US Calls on Kosovo to Ratify Border Deal with Montenegro

  • Associated Press

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shakes hands with Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic before their meeting at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., May 8, 2017.

The United States on Monday called on Kosovo's political parties to ratify a border demarcation deal with neighboring Montenegro, saying the delay is damaging the Balkan state's credibility abroad.

The U.S. Embassy urged the government in Pristina to resubmit the ratification question to parliament. The embassy says the holdup also is hindering the ability of Kosovars to travel freely through Europe.

“We remain fully convinced - after considerable review by United States Government experts - that the border demarcation line established by the agreement is correctly drawn,” the statement said, calling on Kosovo politicians “to put an end to the arguments and disagreements that are only hurting Kosovo.”

The Cabinet has decided to postpone the move until after a government no-confidence vote in parliament scheduled for Wednesday at the request of the opposition.

The deal was signed in 2015, but not enough lawmakers were willing to pass it and Prime Minister Isa Mustafa withdrew the draft.

Opposition parties claim Kosovo loses territory under the agreement and have vowed to disrupt any attempts to get it through parliament.

Contrary to opposition claims, reports from local and international experts have shown the country loses no territory.

The European Union has said that Kosovo, which remains the only country in the western Balkans whose citizens need to apply for a visa to visit countries in the Schengen area, may enjoy visa-free travel if the deal is approved.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. It is recognized by 114 countries, but not by Serbia.

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