Even tear gas didn't stop this parliament from passing a border deal


Pristina, Kosovo - Members of Kosovo's parliament fired tear gas inside the legislative chamber to stop a vote today on a border issue with neighboring Montenegro.

The session was first briefly interrupted but when it resumed at around 1:15 pm (1215 GMT), more tear gas was thrown forcing the lawmakers to leave the hall again.

The opposition party says the border deal will mean Kosovo loses 8,200 hectares (20,000 acres) of its territory.

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The opposition members used three tear gas canisters just as the vote was about to start, according to The Independent.

Worldwide officials criticized the tear gas move.

The 120-seat parliament was expected to ratify the 2015 border deal, which was set as a precondition by the European Union for Kosovo's citizens to freely travel within its visa-free travel zone known as Schengen.

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But members of the staunchly nationalist political party Vetevendosje argue that the border agreement shouldn't be signed because it cedes 30 square miles of Kosovo's land to Montenegro.

Tear gas canisters recently spewed noxious green gas inside Kosovo's parliament chambers in what officials say was a freaky stunt by opposition leaders protesting a territory deal. The previous government and worldwide experts deny that claim. Amid the chaos, the session failed four consecutive times to call the vote, but Speaker Kadri Veseli insisted it would take place. Nearly half of its lawmakers recently chose to leave the party and form their own parliamentary group to focus on more practical issues such as social welfare. I encourage them to vote yes for Europe. The previous government and worldwide experts deny that claim.

"Congratulations Kosovo. Kosovo did the right thing", U.S. Ambassador Greg Delawie said after the vote.

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Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said they had the votes to pass the deal.