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Leaders of Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia meet to strengthen ties

04-02-2011 11:21 BJT

BELGRADE, April 1 (Xinhua) -- The leaders of Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia agreed on Friday to resolve outstanding issues among them and to strengthen economic cooperation, in particular in the battle against organized crime.

Meeting in the formal royal summer palace overlooking the Danube in Smederevo, an hour's drive east of the Serbian capital of Belgrade, Prime Minister Borut Pahor of Slovenia and Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor of Croatia attended the meeting hosted by Serbian President Boris Tadic. This meeting is part of a series initiated by the three leaders of the former Yugoslav republics to enhance regional cooperation.

"Our relations are growing again," said Tadic at a news conference following the meeting. "We are solving problems inherited from the years of breakup of Yugoslavia. Step by step we are becoming an example for other regions."

Both Tadic and Kosor stated their willingness to address outstanding issues precipitated by the secession of Yugoslav republics during the 1990s. They said they would sponsor a donor' s conference in September to address issues faced by refugees.

The two leaders said they remained committed to the prosecution of suspected war criminals.

"One thing is unambiguous: Those who committed war crimes should be held accountable," said Tadic.

As an example of their economic cooperation, Kosor stressed the joint venture for rail transport "Cargo 10," established by the national railway companies of Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia to speed up international rail cargo."Certainly, we have shown once again our readiness to cooperate in the areas where we see our interest," said Kosor, adding that the three countries were complementary and could seek international markets together that they could not individually.

Pahor, representing the only former Yugoslav republic to join the European Union, said the European integration of Croatia and Serbia was "not only about the interest of these countries, but also in the interest of the EU."

Within the scope of regional cooperation, the fight against corruption and organized crime was high on the agenda.

"It is very important to fight organized crime," said Tadic, "because this is our common struggle. I think that we have achieved outstanding results in our bilateral cooperation and at the trilateral level."

Kosor expressed readiness for greater co-operation of state institutions in the struggle against corruption and organized crime.

Nonetheless, despite the buoyant mood not all issues were resolved at the meeting.

"There are a series of bilateral disputes that have not yet solved, but we are deeply convinced that the most difficult problems can and must be solved in due time," said Tadic.

Serbia and Croatia have counter-suits of genocide pending before the International Court of Justice. While Tadic said he was prepared to discuss the possibility of dropping the suit against Croatia, the Croatian prime minister said the topic did not come up for discussion.

 

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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