Albania: representatives from 17 central European countries meet for talks

The talks in Tirana of the Central European Initiative brought together deputy foreign ministers and other senior officials from Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic,Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia-Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.

Representatives of 10 international organizations were also present.

The meeting "welcomed the successful organization of the referendum for independence of Montenegro," called on all sides to respect the decision, and encouraged Belgrade and Podgorica "to enter into a direct dialogue in order to reach an early agreement on the way ahead," according to a final document issued at the end of the one-day meeting.

Seven CEI member states are EU members, Bulgaria and Romania are slated to join next year, while western Balkan countries are either in the initial integration steps or waiting to launch them.

Participants also reiterated the need "to pursue concerted efforts" against international terrorism, the final document said.

Accession to NATO for Albania, Croatia and Macedonia "would contribute to strengthening security and stability in the region," it added.

The meeting also worked to prepare the premiers' summit in November and other forums this year in Albania, which currently holds the organization's rotating presidency,  the AP reports.