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U.S. Urges Kosovo To Ratify Montenegro Border Deal

  • RFE/RL

The United States is calling on Kosovo to ratify a border-demarcation deal with Montenegro, saying the domestic political gridlock over the agreement is damaging the Balkan nation's international credibility.

The U.S. Embassy in Kosovo's capital, Pristina, said in a May 8 statement that, among other things, the delay is preventing Kosovo's citizens from traveling freely in 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.

The country's opposition has prevented parliament from voting on the border agreement, which Montenegro signed two years ago, and another deal with Serbia that gives more powers to ethnic Serbs in Kosovo.

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

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in March urged the opposition to ratify the agreement, the last remaining hurdle before Kosovo can benefit from visa-free travel to Europe's Schengen zone.

The U.S. Embassy said in its statement that "the time has come to put an end to the arguments and disagreements that are only hurting Kosovo."

"It is time to end political obstruction of the Republic of Kosovo so the Assembly and Government can begin to make progress on other vital issues on behalf of Kosovo's citizens," it said.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters
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