Kosovo and Macedonia sign border agreement
(20 October 2009)On Friday 16 October 2009, Kosovo and Macedonia signed a ‘demarcation’ agreement that was ratified by both prime ministers and respective parliaments the following day. No details of the accord have been made available, but Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Mr Hashim Thaci, assured that it respected ‘the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and the peaceful settlement of dispute.’ Available information from news reports suggests that the agreement paves the way for up-coming boundary demarcation rather than ratifying recently completed demarcation.
Boundary problems between Macedonia and Kosovo date back to 2001 when Yugoslavia, of which Kosovo was still part, signed an agreement with Macedonia to delimit their common boundary. At the time, the agreement was opposed by ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo who protested the decision, claiming that some 6,100 acres of their own land fell on the Macedonian side of the boundary. After last week’s signature, Kosovo’s prime minister declared that the new agreement will make it easier for Kosovars to cross the border with Macedonia to access their lands while his Macedonian counterpart, Mr Nikola Gruevski, assured the public that Macedonia has not given up any portion of territory.
Sources: ‘Macedonia and Kosovo break the ice in border dispute’ Deutsche Welle, 18 October 2009; ‘Kosovo, Macedonia demarcate disputed border’ The Canadian Press, 17 October 2009; ‘Macedonia and Kosovo settle border dispute’ Agence France Press, 17 October 2009; ‘Kosovo and Macedonia establish diplomatic relations’ UNMIK Media Monitoring Headlines, 19 October 2009.