European Union hails Kosovo vote as 'real achievement'

Randolph Lopez
March 22, 2018

Parliament members from a Kosovo opposition party used tear gas to disrupt a controversial vote earlier today.

Previous attempts to ratify the agreement have led to similar protests involving tear gas in the 120-seat parliament and street clashes with police. (EPA/Valdrin Xhemaj) Tear gas rises from a canister released by Kosovo opposition lawmakers.

USA ambassador to Kosovo Greg Delawie urged Kosovo members of parliament on Wednesday to endorse a border deal with Montenegro, a key condition for visa liberalization with the European Union.

After the tear gas was released, the session was put on hold until the smoke has cleared, broadcaster RTK said.

Montenegro, which has approved the deal, recognizes Kosovo's 2008 independence from Serbia, which Belgrade still rejects. As soon as the parliamentary chamber had ventilated and the lawmakers began to file back in, the party did it again.

- Amb. Greg Delawie (@USAmbKosovo) March 21, 2018I would urge MPs to vote yes on the Border Demarcation Agreement.

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Two members of the governing coalition were injured on Wednesday, but lawmakers nonetheless pledged that the vote would go forward.

The Kosovo Assembly was voting on a border agreement with Montenegro, according to Reuters.

The opposition party are so against it that party leader Levizja Vetvendosje took matters into his own hands by setting off tear gas. Some experts said the border vote has given the party a chance to reassert its relevance.

President Hashim Thaci, who signed the deal in 2015 when he was foreign minister, denounced "the unsafe tactics of the opponents of the visa liberalization".

The EU commissioner for enlargement, Johannes Hahn, condemned the action in a tweet, saying: "Such behavior has no place in a democracy".

Both the USA and European Union ambassadors denounced the use of tear gas and urged the lawmakers to hold the vote in favour of the deal. "So I expect the law to pass within the day".

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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