BELGRADE – Kosovo’s government has withdrawn a draft law on the ratification of a border deal with Montenegro from the agenda of parliament. The proposed border deal has sparked a harsh reaction from the opposition for more than a year with opposition politicians repeatedly setting off tear gas inside parliament to derail the legislative process.

Prime Minister Isa Mustafa told lawmakers in the assembly on September 1 that a vote on the deal expected that day could not go forward, RFE/RL reports.

Mustafa said the withdrawal of the draft law does not nullify the border deal — only that the government would consider when to proceed again with legislation on ratifying the agreement.

Mustafa made the announcement as hundreds of protesters rallied outside the parliament building in Pristina in opposition to the deal, which they say “would give away a large swath of Kosovo’s territory.”

Supporters of the opposition Self-Determination Movement have also held demonstrations outside parliament to protest the deal, which was tentatively agreed upon by Pristina and Podgorica in 2015.

Passage of a border demarcation agreement with Montenegro is one of the preconditions set by the European Commission for Kosovo to be granted visa liberalization privileges by the European Union.