International experts approve Kosovo-Montenegro border deal


PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo’s outgoing president, Ahtifete Jahjaga, said Thursday international experts have concluded that a border demarcation deal with Montenegro is in line with international standards.

Three experts from the U.S., Britain and Germany considered as regular the process of establishing the border with neighboring Montenegro. That has been harshly opposed by the country’s political opposition, which claims Kosovo is losing thousands of hectares of land.

“From the legal and technical point of view the international experts have found no violation of the demarcation process between Kosovo and Montenegro,” Jahjaga said. She added, however, that the experts considered the process needed to be “more transparent.”

Jahjaga created the ad hoc commission as part of attempts to lay the basis of a political dialogue in the country, efforts that have always been turned down by the opposition.

Kosovo’s political life has been in turmoil since last September as the opposition has disrupted Parliament’s work and its supporters have clashed with police. They also oppose a deal with Serbia giving more powers to ethnic Serbs in Kosovo.

The opposition, which is now boycotting Parliament, on Thursday did not accept the experts’ conclusion and said it will continue the anti-government protests.

“The united opposition considers that the findings of this international team … are an evaluation made for the President’s needs and as such cannot be reflected in the need of border correction with Montenegro,” a statement said.

Prime Minister Isa Mustafa’s government hailed the experts’ findings, saying they were in line with previous findings of the U.S. Department of State and should settle the issue.

The U.S. embassy in Pristina also welcomed the conclusion of the ad hoc commission and urged Kosovo and Montenegro “to take steps to improve border management and strengthen cooperation.”

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, an act that Serbia still rejects.