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Western Balkan countries in talks to help each other on path toward European Union membership

  • Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic takes part in a regional meeting of Southeast European countries in Tirana, Albania Friday, May 22, 2015. Western Balkan countries are urged from the European Union ti strengthen their regional cooperation along their steps to join the bloc. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)

    Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic takes part in a regional meeting of Southeast European countries in Tirana, Albania Friday, May 22, 2015. Western Balkan countries are urged from the European Union ti strengthen their regional cooperation along their steps to join the bloc. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)  (The Associated Press)

  • Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic speaks as he takes part in a regional meeting of Southeast European countries in Tirana, Albania Friday, May 22, 2015. Western Balkan countries are urged from the European Union to strengthen their regional cooperation along their steps to join the bloc. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)

    Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic speaks as he takes part in a regional meeting of Southeast European countries in Tirana, Albania Friday, May 22, 2015. Western Balkan countries are urged from the European Union to strengthen their regional cooperation along their steps to join the bloc. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)  (The Associated Press)

Foreign ministers from several Balkan countries are to meet in the Albanian capital Tirana to discuss regional cooperation in their efforts to join the European Union.

Friday's meeting brings together representatives of countries that have long had troubled relations in the volatile region: Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia. It comes ahead of a planned historic visit to Tirana next week of Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, the first to Albania by a Serbian prime minister.

The talks are part of gatherings organized for Albania's presidency of the South-East European Cooperation Process, a regional grouping of 13 Balkan nations set up to promote cooperation. The country's presidents and prime ministers are to meet in Tirana next week.