Montenegro Summit Calls for Closer Regional Cooperation

The heads of states of Western Balkan countries have called for closer regional cooperation at their annual summit which was not attended by the Serbian president.This year’s regional summit on cooperation was held in Montenegro’s coastal town of Budva on Wednesday and was attended by the president of Montenegro, Filip Vujanovic, his Kosovo counterpart Atifete Jahjaga, the heads of state of Albania, Bujar Nishani, and Macedonia, Djordje Ivanov.

Serbia’s head of state, Tomislav Nikolic, did not attend the summit.

According to the local media, Nikolic declined the invitation to attend in protest over the recent Hague Tribunal acquittal the ex Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, commander, Ramush Haradinaj, and the presence of Kosovo’s president at the summit.

The summit’s main message was the need for closer regional cooperation, primarily in the fields of fight against organized crime and corruption, cross-border cooperation, economy and European and NATO integration.

Following the meeting with his colleagues from the region, the Albanian president, Bajur Nishani, told the press that Albania’s relations with all its neighbours were good, including Macedonia, despite the recent incident when the Macedonian flag was burnt.

“Isolated, individual and provocative incidents are a subject for judiciary, but by no means they could harm the good relations between our two countries,” said Nishani.

The expected exchange of ambassadors between Montenegro and Kosovo was also among the issues which drew attention of the press.

In late May, four years after it recognised Kosovo’s independence in 2008, Montenegro’s government said it was to open embassy in Pristina.

Still, Vujanovic refused to appoint an ambassador to Pristina until Montenegrins obtain ethnic minority status in Kosovo.

Atifete Jahjaga, Kosovo’s president, repeated on Wednesday that the recognition of ethnic minority statuses for both Montenegrin and Croat communities in Kosovo was just a matter of time.

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