Albania, Croatia, Macedonia leaders to meet

The prime ministers of Albania, Croatia and Macedonia are to meet on Tuesday to discuss regional cooperation and their approach to membership into the European Union and NATO, an Albanian spokesman said. Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, Croatian premier Ivo Sanader and Macedonian Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski are to meet in the Albanian port city of Durres , 33 kilometers (20 miles) west of capital Tirana, for talks that also include integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions, Berisha spokesman Ermal Hasimja said.

Since last year Croatia and Macedonia have been candidates for membership in the European Union. Albania initialed initialed a pre-membership agreement with EU this month in a first step to join the alliance. The three countries signed in 2003 the Adriatic 3 Charter, a U.S.-backed initiative in which they pledge to develop a common military strategy as part of their efforts to join NATO.

The countries had hoped to be invited to become a full members at the alliance's next summit, expected in 2006. But NATO said that any further expansion should wait until at least 2008, reports the AP.


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