Border dispute between Croatia and Montenegro goes to next stage

Border dispute between Croatia and Montenegro goes to next stage

Zagreb, January 21, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Marija Avramovic

Political director of the Montenegrin Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Vladimir Radulovic said today that Montenegro and Croatia have tabled their respective documents on the status of Prevlaka, and that the negotiations, before going to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), are in the final stage.

Prevlaka is a small peninsula in the southern Adriatic and a subject of a territorial dispute between Croatia and Montenegro since the breakup of SFR Yugoslavia in the 90s.

According to Radulovic, these documents will first go to the two countries’ national parliaments for verification, where they should get the “green light” to take the case before the ICJ.

The Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MVEP) announced that the Croatian side sent to the Montenegrin side an informal, expert proposal of a special agreement between the two countries, which would enable them to jointly address the international court and request the court to determine the border on land and at sea between the two countries.

“So far we have not received a response from Montenegrin side and we expect to continue discussion on this subject”, MVEP confirmed on Wednesday.

Yesterday in Strasbourg European parliamentarians praised Montenegro’s progress in the accession negotiations for EU membership, but also suggested that it should solve the question of its borders, especially those with Croatia.

The first ambassador of Montenegro in Croatia and foreign policy commentator, Branko Lukovac, assessed earlier that the new Croatian president Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic would continue to pursue the policy of good neighborly relations and therefore major changes in Croatia’s relation to Montenegro should not be expected.

He stressed that, while the current president Grabar Kitarovic held the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, advocated for a bilateral agreement between Montenegro and Croatia on the issue of Prevlaka and therefore “it should be expected that from her new Office she will continue to search for ways to solve this issue”.

Montenegrin officials have so far commended the good relations between the two countries and Croatia’s support to Montenegro on its road to Euro-Atlantic integrations, while the Montenegrin opposition have fears that because of Prevlaka Croatia could block its neighbor’s negotiations with the EU.