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News 29 May 13

Albania President Shuns Balkan Summit Over Kosovo

President Bujar Nishani on Tuesday said he would not participate in the summit of the South-East European Cooperation Process, SEECP, after his Kosovo counterpart was not invited.

Besar Likmeta
BIRN
Tirana

Nishani said he would not be going to Macedonia out of “disappointment with the destructive conditionality that is being made toward the participation of countries in the region in the Ohrid summit," which he said was "an unprecedented act in contradiction to international agreements and the spirit of cooperation.

“In an atmosphere when mutual trust and reciprocal respect has been broken, with regret I have decided not to participate in the summit,” he added.

The 16th summit of heads of states and prime ministers of the South-East European Cooperation Process, SEECP is due to take place on June 1 in the lakeside town of Ohrid, Macedonia.

The tenth conference of the heads of SEECP member state parliaments is also opening on Monday, with Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Turkey and Slovenia all sending representatives.

The meeting of parliamentary speakers is to focus on ways to overcome the effects of the economic crisis and will also be attended by the vice-president of the European Parliament, Laszlo Surjan, and the head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Wolfgang Grossruck.

Kosovo accused Macedonia of being “anti-European” after it failed to invite its President, Atifete Jahjaga, to the regional meeting.

“Despite my efforts in communicating with Macedonia’s [foreign minister Nikola] Poposki, they did not extend an invitation. This is a real concern for Kosovo-Macedonia relations, it goes against the spirit of regional cooperation and represents anti-European behaviour,” Kosovo’s Foreign Minister, Enver Hoxhaj, said on Sunday.

Macedonia insisted that it wanted to invite Kosovo but could not, and expressed hope that it might be possible on some other occasion in the future.

“Macedonia wished to invite Kosovo as a guest,” the presidential office in Skopje said.

In spite of signing up to an EU-led agreement with Kosovo, Serbia remains strongly opposed to recognition of Kosovo as an independent state and does not generally attend meetings to which Kosovo has been invited as a sovereign state. Kosovo is also not recognised by Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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