Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Progress anticipated in long-standing issue

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The longstanding issue surrounding the utilization of the water resources of Lake Bileća may finally see progress this year, according to hopes from both the Montenegrin government and the local administration of Nikšić, where a portion of the lake is situated.

The formation of Lake Bileća, covering an area of 33 square kilometers, resulted in the submerging of over five million square meters of land belonging to the municipality of Nikšić, due to the relocation of several villages. While Nikšić used to receive financial compensation from Bosnia and Herzegovina during the time of the former Yugoslavia, this compensation has not been provided since the dissolution of the state in 1992. Instead, it is now allocated to the municipalities of Bileća and Trebinje.

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Minister of Energy and Mining, Saša Mujović, recently proposed a potential solution to the ongoing dispute over Lake Bileća, suggesting the formation of a joint group between Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Republika Srpska. This group would aim to determine a compromise that satisfies all parties involved.

The Mayor of Nikšić, Marko Kovačević, expressed support for Mujović’s proposal, deeming it purposeful and potentially effective in finding a resolution. He emphasized the importance of resolving the compensation issue for Nikšić while addressing other complex matters through the proposed joint group.

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A study conducted in 2005 for the Montenegrin government revealed that 24% of the territory occupied by Lake Bileća belongs to Montenegro, along with 40% of its watershed.

Mujović highlighted the need to address the issue promptly, considering its impact on Montenegro’s relations with Republika Srpska. He stressed the importance of cooperation and mutual understanding in resolving such disputes, suggesting that a joint effort would pave the way for stronger relations between the involved parties.

According to the Electric Power Industry of Montenegro (EPCG), Montenegro is entitled to use 20.21% of Lake Bileća’s hydroenergy potential. However, ongoing legal proceedings in Bosnia and Herzegovina have resulted in judgments favoring compensation claims against EPCG for alleged damages caused by the Piva Hydroelectric Power Plant.

Despite these challenges, Mujović remains optimistic about finding a satisfactory solution through cooperation and negotiation. He believes that addressing the issue of Lake Bileća is crucial for fostering positive relations and advancing mutual interests among all stakeholders involved.

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