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May 4, 1992
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 32
Montenegro Vs. Croatia

The Disputable Isthmus

by Velizar Brajovic

It seems that the Prevlaka isthmus is causing a lot of trouble to the Montenegrin authorities and, consequently, to the government of the new federal state. After assuring the public that Prevlaka will remain in Montenegro and Yugoslavia and that, after all that's happened, a solution had to be reached by peaceful means, President Bulatovic revealed that the battle for the gateway to the Boka bay was entering its dramatic phase.

"Unfortunately", said Mr. Bulatovic in an interview to "Pobjeda", "despite the armed conflict, negotiations with the Croatian side went in the desired direction, however, we have now run into a blind alley. I don't wish to disturb the public, but the Republic of Croatia has informed us that chances of solving this problem peacefully are very slight. Forces which are not only ready to take over Prevlaka but a considerable part of the Boka bay as well, are becoming more clamorous in Croatia. I hope that the Croatian government will come to its senses and that peaceful negotiations will continue, and further armed conflicts prevented."

It remains to be seen whether Prevlaka will be returned to Croatia after JNA withdraws from the Dubrovnik war theater, or whether conflicts will gain momentum. It also remains unclear whether Montenegro is going to lose under pressure from the international community, what it assumed it had acquired. Mr. Bulatovic has said on several occasions that "we won't let Croatia have Prevlaka even if we have to fight for it", but he also said that the siege of Dubrovnik should be lifted as soon as possible in order to create conditions for negotiations over Prevlaka. The Podgorica (Titograd) Corps commander, Major-General Damjanovic has recently expressed regret for the fact that Dubrovnik was not taken over, he also claimed that Prevlaka will not cause any problems. "Prevlaka, Grude, and Cilipi should become a part of Montenegro." "Prevlaka has strategic importance for Montenegro and Yugoslavia. It can by no means remain outside it", said Colonel Babic, the Montenegrin Defense Minister.

The question remains whether, and at what price, the disputed border

between Montenegro and Croatia will be corrected.

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