European Western Balkans
Regional cooperation

SEE Cooperation Process meeting begins without Kosovo and Albania

Sarajevo; Photo: Wikimedia Commons

SARAJEVO – Bosnia and Herzegovina’s one-year presidency over the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) concludes with a Summit in Sarajevo. President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will join the regional leaders, unlike the representatives of Kosovo and Albania, who declined to participate.

“Treatment and statements from the BiH Presidency are not conductive to good neighbourly relations and EU values and principles, thus preventing Kosovo from participating in the SEECP”, tweeted President of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi on Saturday.

Kosovo is expected to take over the presidency of the SEECP. However, the country is not recognized by Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the mutual relations have been strained due to obstacles to trade and free travel.

A day later, Acting Foreign Minister of Albania Gent Cakaj announced that his country is canceling the participation at SEECP Summit in solidarity with Kosovo, also via Twitter.

“There is no cooperation without equal treatment”, wrote Cakaj.

Last week, Foreign Ministers of Kosovo and Albania signed an agreement in Tirana to coordinate their foreign policies and unify diplomatic missions.

Who is participating?

Summit in Sarajevo began today with a meeting between ministers of foreign affairs, while the presidential meeting will be held tomorrow.

Apart from BiH Presidency members Dodik, Džaferović and Komšić, as well as President Erdoğan, President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović and his Macedonian counterpart Stevo Pendarovski have also confirmed their participation.

President of Slovenia Borut Pahor will also be present, while Serbia and Bulgaria will be represented by Prime Ministers Ana Brnabić and Boyko Borisov.

Representatives of the Regional Cooperation Council will also take part, as this organisation holds its 11th annual meeting.

SEECP was launched in Sofia in 1996 as an initiative for stability and cooperation in the region. Its members also include Greece, Romania, Croatia and Moldova.

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