Bulgarian FM wraps up Western Balkans tour in Albania

Bulgarian Foreign Minister was in the Albanian capital of Tirana on May 14 2010 at the close of his Western Balkans tour that has taken him to Skopje, Belgrade, Podgorica, Pristina, Sarajevo and Banja Luka underlining his message that Bulgaria wants to do its utmost to assist the region’s European integration.

In Tirana, Mladenov was scheduled to meet deputy prime minister and foreign minister Ilir Meta, and was to be received by prime minister Sali Berisha, parliament speaker Jozefina Topalli and president Bamir Topi.

In Albania, Mladenov would put forward a message reinforcing the country’s prospects for European integration, although the country has serious problems amid protests by the opposition against the official outcome of the June 2009 election, Bulgarian National Radio said.

Earlier, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mladenov held talks in Sarajevo on May 12 with his Bosnian counterpart Sven Alkalaj, saying that Sofia saw the territorial integrity, independence, European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina as key to the stability to the region, adding that this included the preservation of Bosnia’s multi-cultural, multilingual and religious diversity.

Mladenov said that the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina lay in the European family, and it should maintain good neighbourly relations with other Balkans states and pursue the domestic reforms required for European integration.

He said that he hoped that citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina could, on the recommendation of the European Commission, soon be able to travel within the EU exempt from Schengen visa requirements.

Bosnia and Herzegovina faces challenges to its stability given continuing tensions within its constituent elements about some communities’ threats to secede.

In Banja Luka on May 13, Mladenov held talks with the prime minister of the Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik. Dodik said that there was no threat to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s territorial integrity and the future of the Dayton Accord is not in question.

In a message similar to the one that he has conveyed to other countries in his Western Balkans tour, Mladenov said that Bulgaria wanted to share its experiences, positive and negative, to assist progress in European integration.

Mladenov said that his reasons for his visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina had included wanting to assure himself that the country’s future integration into the EU and Nato enjoyed everyone’s support.

During his visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mladenov visited the EUFOR headquarters at Camp Butmir near Sarajevo to meet Bulgarian military personnel deployed there.

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