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November 26, 1995
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 217

The Issue of Prevlaka

by Velizar Brajovic

President of Montenegro Momir Bulatovic said in Dayton that the international community would be dealing with the Prevlaka issue in Paris: "We had constructive talks in Dayton with the Croatian delegation, particularly with President Tudjman. We discussed the legitimate demand of the Bosnian Serb Republic to get access to the sea and, at the same time, the Prevlaka issue. We have reached an agreement on the whole package of the arrangement. It is complicated and will be realized at the resumed peace conference in Paris, on the occasion of the signing of the agreement. All those who have been criticising me may be disappointed."

Prior to Dayton, Montenegro officials occasionally said that Prevlaka would be gained through some kind of a triple exchange of territory which included the Dubrovnik hinterland. In the meantime, new geography is being taught in schools: bookshops are selling a new map of Montenegro, published by Geokarta, Belgrade in 1995, on which the border of Montenegro is some ten kilometres further into Croatia's territory, more precisely at Molunat. News from this part of Croatia says that the population is dissatisfied with the government's inadequate attitude toward the reconstruction of houses and other buildings. The news from Konavle says that the citizens along the Montenegro border in the east and along the Herzegovina border in the north are leaving their homes, some of them even taking roof tiles with them. Prevlaka is ours," East Herzegovina leader Bozidar Vucurevic told "Vreme" (after Dayton). "When I say 'ours' I mean that the Serbian people finally must have common interests. It may partly or completely be in Montenegro or in the Bosnian Serb Republic, but let's not strain the issue. Herzegovina pledges a substantial part of its territory for access to the sea, including Prevlaka, which means that this time Herzegovina ought to buy off Prvlaka. When we talk about whose Prevlaka is, it in fact belongs to the Bosnian Serb Republic, but if we are human we should abide by Njegos's wisdom. I think there must be no spark about it: Prevlaka is ours - it belongs to Montenegro or the Bosnian Serb Republic and we have no right to dispute it," Vucurevic said categorically.

Bozidar Vucurevic told "Vreme" that it is not certain how long the Herzegovina coastline would be - ten or twenty kilometres - because lines had not been drawn yet even of the territory of the Trebinje municipality in the Dubrovnik hinterland. It depends on what the Croats will offer and what they will ask for. The three sides - the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Bosnian Serb Republic and the Muslim-Croat Federation - ought to agree about some details.

Asked about the maritime border from Boka Kotorska to Cilipi, Vucurevic said. "Our municipality is next to Herceg-Novi. We shall make the job easier for them because the border will get further away from them. The Bosnian Serb Republic will bear the burden of keeping order and peace."

The tourist trade, however, is very much concerned with what might be encountered on the way from Herceg-Novi to Dubrovnik, especially since they are convinced that the Montenegro and Dubrovnik rivieras are inseparable. Four borders to be crossed at the length of some ten kilometres are probably the worst solution from the aspect of the revival of tourism.

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