Kosovo oppn halts Parliament proceedings by throwing tear gas

Lawmakers in Kosovo release tear gas in Parliament to prevent vote

Tear Gas Released In Kosovo Parliament During Fierce Debate

The Self-Determination Movement party used tear gas in the Assembly building when the vote was due to start Wednesday, and all lawmakers had to leave the hall.

The tear gas was released as soon as parliamentary speaker Kadri Veseli invited deputies to vote to ratify the agreement. (EPA/Valdrin Xhemaj) Tear gas rises from a canister released by Kosovo opposition lawmakers.

Kosovo is the only Balkan country now without visa-free access to the European Union, while its neighbours Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia gained access in 2010.

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Montenegro, which has approved the deal, recognizes Kosovo's 2008 independence from Serbia, which Belgrade still rejects.

Ratification of the border deal with Montenegro is one of the main conditions for Kosovo citizens to get visa free regime within the EU. I would urge them to vote yes on the Border Demarcation Agreement.

Two members of the governing coalition were injured on Wednesday, but lawmakers nonetheless pledged that the vote would go forward. (EPA/Valdrin Xhemaj) Kosovo opposition politicians release tear gas in parliament to obstruct a session in Pristina. "Demarcation is an internal Kosovar issue that pits the majority of political parties on the mainstream versus the minority nationalists who consider the deal is a betrayal of national interests", Petrit Selimi, a former minister of foreign affairs in Kosovo, told Newsweek.

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The opposition Self-Determination party, which used tear in the Kosovo Assembly chambers to stop the vote, says Kosovo loses territory under the agreement.

European Commissioner Johannes Hahn, who is responsible for relations with the bloc's neighbors, condemned the opposition MPs' actions on Twitter.

"It looks like the votes have been secured".

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It is not clear when the vote will now take place. "Some [members of the parlament] have been detained by police".

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