07:34 GMT +321 August 2019
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    US Vice President Joe Biden

    Biden Calls on Kosovo to Ratify Border Deal With Montenegro

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    US Vice President Joe Biden called on the Kosovar authorities on Wednesday to ratify an agreement on border demarcation with Montenegro.

    BELGRADE (Sputnik) — Earlier this week, Biden started a three-day trip to the Balkan region. Earlier in the day, he held closed-door meetings with Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and Prime Minister Isa Mustafa.

    "I want you to sign the agreement you negotiated with Montenegro, as an example of your leadership… This is important. It is a fair agreement, and your commitment… will have a very positive impact," Biden told reporters.

    He was referring to the Agreement for the Border Demarcation between Kosovo and Montenegro, which was signed by Thaci and his Montenegro counterpart Igor Luksic in 2015. The agreement is expected be ratified by the assemblies of both respective countries in order for it to be implemented and come into force. Montenegro has repeatedly stressed that Podgorica has honored its side of the deal.

    Biden also called on Pristina to to fulfill an agreement with Serbia on the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO). He stressed that Kosovo's successful integration would contribute to the general prosperity of the region, but without ZSOs, Kosovo would remain isolated from the European Union and the United States.

    ZSO is a planned association of predominately ethnic-Serb municipalities in Kosovo, which was expected to be created in 2015 but was indefinitely postponed due to disputes over powers. Currently, Northern Kosovo, known as Ibarski Kolasin, inhabited mainly by Serbs, is not administered by the authorities in Pristina.

    In 1998, an armed conflict broke out between Kosovo Albanian independence supporters and Yugoslavia, with the militias seeking independence of Kosovo and Metohija. The following year, NATO intervened in the conflict without UN approval and started to bomb Yugoslavia.

    Since then, Belgrade has lost control of Kosovo, as the Serbian government had to agree to the presence of a NATO military contingent in Kosovo and the subsequent transfer of the territory to UN administration. In 2008, the Albanian government of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia.

    Unlike the United States and some European countries, Russia has not recognized Kosovar statehood, and believes Kosovo to be part of Serbia.


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