ISTANBUL, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Leaders of 11 southeastern European countries started a regional cooperation summit here on Wednesday.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul is hosting the meeting of the Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP).
At the opening session of the summit, Slovenia was approved to become a member of the organization. Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk said that his countries was looking forward to cooperation with other countries in the region.
Other heads of state attending the meeting include Albanian President Bamir Topi, Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov and Montenegro President Filip Vujanovic.
Representatives from the United States and Russia and Stephan Fule, European Union's commissioner for enlargement and European neighborhood policy as well as officials from UNESCO, the Black Sea Cooperation Organization, are also present at the meeting.
The SEECP was launched upon Bulgaria's initiative in 1996. At the Bulgaria-chaired meeting in Sofia, the southeastern European countries laid the foundations for regional cooperation for the purposes of creating an atmosphere of trust, good neighborly relations and stability.
The basic goals of regional cooperation within SEECP include the strengthening of security and the political situation, intensification of economic relations and cooperation in the areas of human resources, democracy, justice and battle against illegal activities.
It is the intention of the SEECP to enable its members to approach the European and Euro-Atlantic structures through the strengthening of good neighborly relations and transformation of the region into an area of peace and stability.